Think about something you have measured recently. Were you hanging a picture? buying a refrigerator? moving furniture? building something?
Each of those measurements had three things in common: (1) something needed to be measured for the job to turn out right, (2) someone needed to do the measuring correctly, and (3) each measurement had a starting point. What do these three things have to do with Sunday School?
Sunday School Needs to Be Measured. There are two simple reasons why Sunday School needs to be measured. First, we need to know how effective its efforts are. And when efforts are ineffective, adjustments need to be made. This is true for teaching, reaching, and caring. Second, we need to measure Sunday School to check on progress. How are we doing at carrying out plans and goals to help the church accomplish the Great Commission? Without intentional time to measure, Sunday School tends to get stuck.
Everyone Needs to Measure Sunday School. Someone needs to lead the effort to measure. But here is something many directors, teachers, church staff, and pastors fail to grasp. Everyone needs to be involved in measuring Sunday School. If you want to improve effectiveness and experience progress, then there must be buy-in. Every leader and even members must understand and “own” the need to make change. That means they need to be led to measure Sunday School.
The Starting Point for Measuring Sunday School. An honest picture of current reality is the best starting point for measuring Sunday School in the class or as a whole. But this snapshot should be taken frequently and compared. That enables affirmation of effectiveness and progress or identification of the need to make adjustment. Frequent measurement enables forward movement and avoids getting stuck. It encourages action and positive accountability.
EXAMPLE: The men’s class at Good Soil Baptist Church have been praying. The six attenders become convinced that God wants more from the class. The teacher asks the men to meet at the church on Saturday morning to pray, evaluate, and set some goals. Amazingly, all six show up.
- Prayer and evaluation. After a season of prayer, they evaluated their efforts over the last year. They asked if they were doing what God wanted them to do as a class. Together they identified five main areas of weakness which needed to be address: (1) few contacts with each other beyond Sunday, (2) few invitations extended, (3) quiet times had been weak, (4) the teacher had been doing all the work, and (5) they were setting a poor example for the rest of the church.
- Dreaming and prioritizing. Honesty about current reality also led them to acknowledge that God had placed them in that church and community for the benefit of others. They began to dream about how God could use the class to impact others. They recognized they could not do the world alone as individuals. They would have to stand and work together. As they reviewed the needs and dreams identified, they assess which was most important, which was second, and so on through the list. They listed them in this order: (1) quiet time, (2) sharing the work with the teacher, (3) inviting friends, (4) caring for each other, and (5) being a good example. (Discussion led them to believe that a good example would result from work on the previous four priorities.)
- Setting goals and making plans. Here the teacher led them to consider where they wanted to be in a year. They set goals for each area. Then they listed actions that would lead them as a class to reach those goals. Deadlines were set and volunteers were enlisted to carry out those actions by the deadlines. Rather than focus on all five areas at one time, they focused on them like this: (1) quiet time and sharing the work–first quarter; (2) inviting friends–second quarter; (3) caring for each other–fourth quarter.
- Check ups and adjustments. They decided this effort was worth gathering every month on the third Saturday for breakfast, prayer, and a check up meeting. This would keep them focused and accountable. And adjustments could be made quickly when needed.
How about your class? or your Sunday School as a whole? Could you lead them to measure Sunday School? If you don’t lead the effort, who will? If you don’t do it now, what effectiveness and progress may be missed? When will you stop to pray for God’s help and leadership? What can you do this week (and this month) to set up a measurement time? Ownership of goals and plans is essential for movement and momentum. Build that into your plan. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!