In Part 1, I asked if you have noticed a different group showing up for class each week? Have members been out a lot–and irregularity started before the summer? People today are busy. They have many options on Sunday. What can teachers do to increase attendance faithfulness? What can be done to improve regularity?
In a post entitled Irregularity: Addressing Every-Other-Week Class Attenders, I concluded that “irregular attendance is likely a symptom of a lack of connection in Sunday School.” In that post I shared 14 ways we can “address those relational dynamics in an effort to impact irregular attendance.”
How Can Faithfulness Be Improved?
In Part 1, I shared the first four ways to improve faithfulness: follow up, express genuine care, notice attendance pattern change, and use care groups. In Part 2, I will share the next five ways along with some ideas about how to do so. Consider the following:
- Contact absentees, pray together, and remind them of the next fellowship. Contact weekly. Develop a relationship. Follow up on prayer requests. Ask for new requests and then pray together. Invite them to the next class fellowship or project. Remember that face-to-face and phone contact are more personal.
- Plan regular class fellowships and make sure absentees receive invitations/reminders. If you wait to plan a class get-together until everyone’s calendar is clear, you will never have another one. Plan them regularly: every four to six weeks–even if only a few can gather. Work to discover things they like to do for fun. Plan a fellowship and invite absentees and prospects. Spend extra time when them when they attend.
- Plan outreach and ministry projects where participants can get to know one another differently than they would in social times. Projects are active fellowships which help others. Some people (especially men) are not fond of social times but would get to know others while working together. Work to discover affinities of absentees and prospects and consider projects which may appeal to them. Invite absentees and prospects.
- Give every member a class responsibility–this will often increase faithfulness. This helps in two ways. First, by getting faithful members involved, they stay connected AND more ministry is done with absentees and prospects. Second, giving absentees a responsibility sometimes causes them to reconnect because they feel needed and sense a purpose. Go here for two ideas of how to organize this: FISH Teams and TEAMS.
- Develop prayer partners who pray together before class begins and between classes. What if each prayer partner was assigned an absentee to develop a relationship with and to pray for and with? What if on Sunday, prayer partners (in addition to praying for each other) reported on the contacts they made and the prayer requests they received from absentees? This raises care and prayer to the next level with attenders and absentees.
If class members care for each other in only these five ways, it is highly likely that relationships and faithfulness will improve. In Part 3, we will examine the last five ways to improve faithfulness. In the meantime, which of the five ways above does your class need to add to what they are doing to improve care and faithfulness? Make disciples. Be revolutionary!