In the previous posts of this series, I have shared some interesting results of a Sunday School survey, highlighting some of the differences between growing and declining Sunday Schools. In this post, I want to share my reflections on those results. As a review, let me share my comments from the previous posts:
- Growing Sunday Schools are more likely to apprentice and train new teachers and workers so new classes can be started.
- Growing Sunday Schools are more likely to have had a recent high attendance emphasis.
- Declining Sunday Schools are more likely to budget less than is needed.
- Growing Sunday Schools are more likely to have class prospects lists.
- The most common planning meetings are occasional–less than quarterly.
- Growing churches are slightly more likely to have them more often.
- Growing Sunday Schools are more likely to face the need to deal with limited parking.
- Decisions for Christ happen slightly more often in growing Sunday School.
- Classes in growing Sunday Schools are more likely to start on-time.
- Classes in growing Sunday Schools are more likely to meet around tables.
- Classes in declining Sunday Schools are less likely to be age-graded.
- Growing Sunday Schools have fewer mostly empty classrooms. Churches with declining Sunday Schools are less likely to share worship guest registration with classes.
- Growing Sunday Schools tend to have fewer available classrooms.
- Growing Sunday Schools are more likely to provide training and encourage participation in training.
- Growing Sunday Schools are slightly more likely to set goals and use records to assess progress and make adjustments.
- Declining Sunday Schools are less likely to make regular contacts with attenders.
- Growing Sunday Schools tend to have more frequent visitation than declining Sunday Schools.
- Teachers in growing Sunday Schools tend to arrive early to pray, prepare, and greet.
- New classes tend to have been started more recently in growing Sunday Schools.
- The person completing the survey has tended to serve longer in the growing Sunday Schools.
- More rural growing Sunday School surveys were returned than declining ones. Growing Sunday Schools averaged a higher percentage of their enrollment than did declining Sunday Schools.
- Growing Sunday Schools tend to have more classes this year than last year.
- Growing Sunday School tend to have a little longer for Sunday School.
- Growing Sunday Schools have small groups away from church or on another day more often than declining Sunday Schools.
In Part 1 , I shared an important, overall comment about the results: The difference between a growing and a declining Sunday School has to do with more than one factor. In other words, there is no magic pill or one-step process toward a growing Sunday School. There is no one factor that determines whether your Sunday School will grow because ignoring others will undermine the effort.
When I scan the comments above, I see a Sunday School that is ready and eager to do its best. I see a Sunday School desiring to please God and to pursue people for whom Jesus died. I see a willingness to prepare, plan, train, and organize. I see investment in relationships, caring, invitations, guest registration, and follow up. Also, underneath the surface of these results and comments, I see Sunday Schools with leadership and expectations. These Sunday Schools have balance and intentionality in their work because of that leadership.
I will share my concluding comments in Part 7 of this series. There I will connect some of the results and take a glance at what may be missing.