You can tell a lot about a Sunday School by how it treats enrollment. Stop and assess your Sunday School enrollment now. If you were asked to define enrollment, how would you define it? How would your teachers and classes respond? How would they define enrollment?
Part of your definition depends on how you practice enrollment. How often and for what reasons do you drop someone? How and when do you enroll new people? Is there an effort to increase enrollment or to keep it down to reduce handling and form costs? How you answers these questions fill in your definition of enrollment.
In order to contrast the differences between two perspectives, I will share them in table form. Realize that I am painting enrollment practice “extremes.” I will call the extremes, “attendance list” and “ministry list.” Consider these contrasting Sunday School enrollment perspectives:
|Money/budget||No enrollment cards or literature for absentees, dropouts, or guests||Extra literature to reconnect absentees and attract guests; people more important than additional cost|
|Adding new people||Sometimes asked to enroll when they have attended 3 times once we have seen if they are serious||Asked to enroll the first time so we can pray, care, and fellowship with them|
|Dropping people||People dropped whenever they stop attending for 3-6 months||Dropped only for death, moving away, or joining another church; continue for years to minister to absentees|
|Class fellowships||Enrollment used to list regular attenders who will be invited||Enrollment used to list regulars, absentees, and new members to invite more people to fellowships|
|Prayer list||Only regulars and sick absentees on the prayer list||Enrollment and prospect list used as a prayer list; prayer for needs continued beyond Sunday|
|Ministry||Class organized to respond to needs of regular attenders on enrollment||Class organized to respond to regulars, absentees, new members, and even prospects when needs are discovered|
|Follow up||Guests seldom contacted; prospect list often missing; enrollment contact information seldom used to contact absentees||Because the class cares, members and absentees are contacted regularly; guests and prospects are pursued|
|Registration/enrollment cards||Registration for guests is not done||Registration for guests is always done; guests are asked to enroll; information is used for immediate follow up, fellowship invite, and prayer|
|Contacts||Simply calling friends (regular attenders)||Weekly calls, cards/letters, e-mail/texts, and visits with members, absentees, guests, and prospects|
Let me challenge you to do something. Print out this blog post. Circle the extreme on each row which is closer to your current Sunday School enrollment practice. Then note the number that are under “attendance list.” Revolutionary Sunday School cares for people in class and in the community. Revolutionary Sunday School desires to add more people to the enrollment and care for more people in order to love them to Jesus. What steps can you take in the next month to move your classes toward “ministry list” enrollment? What is the first or most important step? Lead boldly to care for people for whom Jesus died. Be revolutionary!