The North American Mission Board has written an article entitled Seven Steps to Increased Attendance. This strategy was used to reinforce National High Attendance Day in Sunday School–which is the last Sunday in October. According to the article, “the strategy asks every Sunday School and church member to honor God by making and keeping, by God’s help, three promises: (1) to attend Sunday School and worship all five Sundays in October (or another month chosen); to pray for and invite lost people to Sunday School and worship; and (3) to wear and share the OMTSJ bracelet. (Can you imagine what might happen in your Sunday School if you led your members to keep the first two promises?)
Here is what the NAMB article suggests:
To prepare for high attendance month, each class/department prayerfully sets an attendance goal for the month. The attendance goal is written on their class/department poster, along with the names of all class members. During the month of the strategy, as Sunday class attendance goals are reached, the poster can be colored in with a marker of the appropriate color. A large display can be built for the worship center. What a great way to start the new Sunday School year . . . with record attendance, lost people hearing the gospel and ON MISSION CHRISTIANS!
STEP 1. FIRST WEEK OF AUGUST OR EIGHT WEEKS BEFORE THE HIGH ATTENDANCE MONTH BEGINS:
Begin prayer effort for OMTSJ. Pray for laborers in the Lord’s harvest and for dedication of the leaders and members. Pray for lost people to be receptive. Ask the church to pray for the pastor. Pray that more people will attend Bible study and worship than ever before in the history of your church.
STEP 2: LAST WEEK OF AUGUST OR FIVE WEEKS BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE HIGH ATTENDANCE STRATEGY:
A. Make copies of the class goal poster for every class/department.
B. Make copies of the attendance commitment form for every Sunday School member and every church member.
C. Prepare a special newsletter or bulletin to be mailed to all members and prospects.
D. Enlist someone to make a large banner or display for the church worship center. (This display can be a thick rope with colored rings, such as found in swimming pools.)
STEP 3: SEPTEMBER 5 OR FOUR WEEKS BEFORE KICK OFF SUNDAY:
A. Pastor and Sunday School director meet with all teachers and workers. Explain the strategy and lead them to sign the commitment form.
B. Distribute a class/department poster to each teacher.
STEP 4: SEPTEMBER 12, OR THREE WEEKS BEFORE OMTSJ SUNDAY: TEACHERS EXPLAIN THE HIGH ATTENDANCE STRATEGY IN EVERY CLASS/DEPARTMENT, CHILDREN AND OLDER.
A. Teachers and outreach evangelism leaders prepare class/department posters by writing in the class/department name.
B. At the bottom of the class poster, write the name of every member.
C. Lead the class to pray and adopt an attendance goal for the strategy. Notify the Sunday School general secretary of the class goal.
D. Mail the enclosed sample pastor’s letter to every member. (Please review this letter now for understanding.)
STEP 5: SEPTEMBER 19, OR TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE STRATEGY BEGINS:
A. Display class/department poster.
B. Teachers show and explain the attendance commitment form to each person present. Preschool teachers plan to ask for promise from parents.
C. Purchase colored markers to color in the appropriate bead on the class poster when attendance goals are met or exceeded.
D. Make copies of postcard and distribute to classe s to be signed by teachers and mailed to every member this week. If possible, the church should pay the postage.
STEP 6: SEPTEMBER 26, OR ONE WEEK BEFORE THE STRATEGY BEGINS:
A. Conduct a combined Sunday School assembly, children and older, to promote and explain the monthlong high attendance strategy.
B. In Sunday School classes, teachers hand out two copies of the attendance commitment form to each person present. Ask everyone present to prayerfully complete the form. Ask them to hold their commitment form until next Sunday and place it on the altar as an act of worship during the morning service, Kick off Sunday. Individuals should complete a second copy of the Promise Form to keep as a reminder (or to share with a prospect).
C. Contact absentees and ask them to make an commitment to attend (complete a form for them).
D. Promote the strategy by all means available to you. Continue to enlist commitments from people for the strategy.
STEP 7: OCTOBER 3 IS KICK OFF SUNDAY, AND THE FIRST SUNDAY OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL AND WORSHIP HIGH ATTENDANCE STRATEGY. (Some churches may choose to observe the high attendance strategy another month.)
A. Teachers or outreach evangelism leaders recognize guests and class members welcome them. Class/department secretaries mark the class/department poster.
B. On the class poster, color in the first bead with a dark grey marker for the first Sunday if the class attendance goal is reached.
C. In the worship service, honor the guests and celebrate increased Bible Study attendance. Be careful to avoid making visitors feel like a “number.”
D. Mail the second post card to every member, and/or contact them by telephone call or visit.
Every week during the emphasis:
A. Celebrate increased attendance in class/departments and during the worship time.
B. Promote the emphasis by by all available means. Teachers and outreach/evangelism leaders should see that every member and prospect is contacted every week during the high attendance strategy by mail, telephone, or visit. Make copies of the postcards and furnish all classes. If possible, the church should furnish postage.
C. Each week during the strategy, encourage members to bring guests, people who need Christ.
What might happen if you prayerfully followed these steps toward a four or five-week high attendance emphasis? Excitement would be generated. People would be reached. Absentees would be contacted. Ministry needs might be discovered. Relationships would be begun and/or strengthened. People would get involved. Attendance would increase. And most importantly, if you have invited guests, some may accept Jesus. Pray. Invite. Share. Be revolutionary!