A couple of years ago, I wrote Sunday School: What Is Measured Gets Done. There I listed a baker’s dozen ways to measure more deeply the impact of Sunday School. The measures included:
- class members serving somewhere in the church, members participating in ministry efforts, people impacted by ministering, increased number participating in training as disciples, increased ministry contacts, number of apprentice leaders and new groups, increase in number of classes, number of Bible chapters read weekly, class fellowship frequency, increased leader training participation, number of class leaders, personal invitations to class, and leaders sent out to work with younger age groups.
These measures would require more time and effort in order to track progress. But the title is true: what is measured gets done! The effort to focus on, track, and improve in these areas would be well worth the extra time and effort spent. So gather a team and develop a strategy to move in this direction.
In Part 2, I want to take my thinking a bit further. I made a presentation to my peers (state Sunday School directors) in May. There I was asked to address the topic: “Navigating the Shift to a New Scorecard.” There I began by pointing out that in many Sunday Schools, measuring has primarily been focused on attendance, enrollment, money, and curriculum. And my experience has shown that few value the impact of enrollment.
Then we divided into groups to examine six realities and what could be done to measure progress in these areas:
(1) We are losing teenagers and young adults. (2) We are losing enrollment. (3) We are losing attendance. (4) The gap between worship and Sunday School is increasing. (5) We are becoming self-focused. (6) We are experiencing a leadership crisis in the Sunday School and church.
After hearing great reports from the groups, I shared the following list of measures that should be included on the Sunday School scorecard. The workgroups naturally shared some of these ideas as well:
- regular involvement in a Bible study group,
- habitually spending time withe Christ through Bible reading and prayer,
- caring contacts,
- reaching contacts,
- new group members,
- people in service in Sunday School/church,
- people in service in the community/world,
- youth/young adults serving,
- youth/young adults on mission,
- new groups started,
- new leaders enlisted,
- testimonies shared,
- guests in attendance,
- guests at fellowships, projects, and meals,
- disciples making progress (from babe to teen to adult, see Real Life Ministries),
- involvement improvement by individuals,
- number of persons in attendance over the last month,
- the ratio of people involved in ministry outside the class compared to people involved in service within the church,
- the number of classes who have adopted an ongoing ministry in the community/world, and
- the number of conversations members are having with pre-Christian people.
Some of these measures would help us to focus on and address some of the issues mentioned above. Think through the list. Who could help you measure each item on the list? Some of the measures might simply require a bit of training for leaders already in place or may require the enlistment and training of new leaders. Gather your leaders.
Begin in prayer. Brainstorm the issues that need to be addressed. Brainstorm some possibilities for solutions. Examine what measures might lead to checking on progress in those areas. This effort will produce awareness of the issues and generate a sense of ownership of the solutions. Teamwork tends to produce better results, especially when it is a spiritual exercise. Pray. Measure. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!