In Part 1, I shared that too many Sunday Schools keep no records. I have discovered churches with no list of Sunday School members (enrollment) and some that do not keep track of attendance. And too many churches keep poor or no prospect or guest attendance records. Without good Sunday School records, I said reaching and caring efforts are usually hamstrung!
I mentioned an article entitled Good Sunday School Records and Evangelism Go Hand in Hand! by my friend, Robert Stewart, who is the retired Director of the Bible Teaching Reaching Team of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. In Part 1, I shared the first five of his ten suggestions about using good Sunday School records for reaching and caring for the sheep that God has entrusted to you. His first five suggestions are the following: (1) Pray for an attitude for inviting people to be enrolled in Sunday School. (2) Be alert for opportunities to invite people to enroll in Sunday School anytime, everywhere. (3) Adopt a good enrollment records plan such as the Broadman Record System Revised. (4) Train teachers and workers to understand enrollment as only the first step. (5) Enlist and train class care group leaders who will make weekly contacts and ministry actions when needed.
In Part 2, I want to share Robert’s final five suggestions for using good records to reach and care for people:
- DON’T JUST “KEEP” THE ROLL; USE THE ENROLLMENT ROSTER TO MEASURE QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE GROWTH OF INDIVIDUALS AND THE CHURCH. To have information and not use it is poor stewardship. Good records help leaders know about interest, involvement, and progress. Good records help to identify new and potential leaders as well as needs for encouragement, ministry, prayer, and help. Use your records. Enlist people to help with your records in order to get the most out of the information you collect.
- BE INCLUSIVE, NOT EXCLUSIVE. Seek to enroll everyone, of every age, whether they are like us or not. Hold your leaders accountable to keep track of each one. Involve your members in reaching out in love to all members, absentees, guests, and prospects. What class could you start off-site which might appeal to people who might not initially feel comfortable in the church facilities? Exclude no one!
- CARRY FORWARD FROM YEAR TO YEAR A GOOD ENROLLMENT-RECORDS PLAN. Robert offers important advice, “Do not drop all names and start over each year.” In one church I served, we kept adult class rolls open during the month of September to encourage adults to go to the class that best fit their age group. Each Sunday they were asked if the class they were attending that day was the one they wanted to stay in. These were added to the new rolls. At the end of the month, we moved all people who had not attended during September to the class whose age group best fit the individual. (If they chose another option later, they could be transferred.) Dropping people because they don’t attend for a period of time results in lack of prayer, attention, and ministry to these persons who may be in more need of it.
- MAKE DROPPING A NAME A SERIOUS AND SAD OCCASION. Have a formal process for dropping a person. No classes can scratch a person of the list or take their enrollment card out of the class roll book on their own. Ask teachers or outreach leaders to submit a formal “drop request” for the individual noting why request is being made. Adopt a church polic y that lists legitimate reasons to d rop persons: (1) they died; (2) they moved out of the ministry reach of the church; (3) they joined another church (not just are attending); and (4) they asked to be removed (but this is also a request for prayer). Robert also added, “Drop names from the Sunday School roll only after exhausting every reasonable means for reaching persons and after all opportunities for ministry have ceased.”
- FREQUENTLY REMIND THE CHURCH AND LEADERS THAT SUNDAY SCHOOL ENROLLMENT IS A MAJOR KEY IN REACHING PEOPLE AND DISCIPLING BELIEVERS. I have heard it said that Baptists forget things every six weeks, so we have to remind them about what is important regularly. That is also true about enrollment. As Robert put it, we must remind leaders that enrolling “people in a caring, loving and nurturing class is an important first step toward developing them as growing disciples of Christ!” Provide reminders in planning meetings. Provide reminders in training sessions. Provide reminders in one-on-one conversations. Without reminders, enrollment will lose its place of importance!
How are you doing with these five suggestions for using your Sunday School records to reach and care for more people? Which of these five and the previous five need some attention in your Sunday School in the next quarter? Stop now to pray. Challenge your leaders to join you in praying and in enrolling people. Challenge them to reach out and minister. Teach them how to keep and use good records. Be revolutionary!