For the last several posts, I have been following up a post entitled Further Reflections on Sunday School Survey Results. I have been writing about each of the survey statements that showed a significant difference between growing and declining Sunday Schools. One of the survey statements listed there is the following (followed by a table of response percentages):
We use class and total Sunday School records to assess progress toward goals and to make adjustments where needed. (Never, Sometimes, Usually, Always)
Question 35 Growing vs. Declining
- Never 28.7% 34.5%
- Sometimes 39.3% 33.5%
- Usually 21.3% 21.3%
- Always 7.4% 7.6%
Notice that the final two responses (Usually and Always) are nearly identical in responses from growing and declining Sunday Schools. The difference comes in Never and Sometimes responses. Growing Sunday Schools are slightly more likely to use records to assess progress toward goals and make adjustment than are declining Sunday Schools. According to these responses, 71.3% of growing Sunday Schools sometimes, usually, or always use records to asses progress and make adjustments.
The survey statement is full of important assumptions for effective Sunday School ministry. Consider the following assumptions:
Effective Sunday School ministry…
- keeps good records for classes and overall Sunday School.
- uses the records to note changes and patterns in Sunday School attendance, enrollment, contacts, and other areas.
- uses records annually during a Sunday School retreat to evaluate annual progress and set goals.
- uses records monthly during Sunday School planning meetings evaluate monthly progress toward goals.
- is going to notice needs and make adjustments in goals and plans when growth is faster or slower than expected.
Leaders in growing Sunday Schools pay attention to what is happening in classes and age groups. They are not slow to adjust space or add another class when rooms are starting to fill. They notice when attendance and enrollment increases slow and challenge class teachers and leaders to provide the reaching and care necessary to add and keep people. Failure t o adjust goals and plans can make a Sunday School less effective. Leaders in growing Sunday Schools not only use records, set goals, and adjust where needed. They also calendar plans. They calendar the annual planning retreat. They prepare for it by gathering class and total Sunday School records and encourage class teachers and leaders to do the same. Growing Sunday School leaders calendar monthly planning meetings to check on progress toward goals and make adjustments where needed. They calendar outreach and care emphases. They calendar teacher training and much more in order to ensure that there is awareness of what it takes to grow and “ownership” of goals and plans.
Keep good class and total Sunday School records. Review them regularly. Set aside an annual time for your Sunday School team to pray, evaluate, identify needs, prioritize, set goals, and make plans. Plan together monthly. Adjust as needed. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!