There are a number of factors that contribute to increased Sunday School attendance. I have written about many of these factors in previous blog entries. Search for “attendance” or increased attendance” to find some of them.
There are many concrete actions listed: prayer, planning, increasing enrollment, special outreach events, sharing your Sunday School testimony, starting new classes, inviting absentees and guests to your class fellowships, setting goals, enlisting class leadership teams, reaching out to meet needs, seeking more participation in the lesson and class leadership, and starting off-site groups. Along with these and other suggestions, one practical action is to make contacts. Several of the entries listed above talk about the importance of contacts. In addition, I shared the testimony of Jeff Crabtree in Sunday School Contacts Make a Difference!
This is the perfect time of year to make weekly contacts with members, absentees, and prospects. Care groups can lead the class in this effort so that no one person is overwhelmed with making too many contacts. For information about care groups, check out Care Groups: Prayer, Ministry, Assimilation, and Invitation. Bottom line: care group leaders lead their care groups to make contacts with and minister to the assigned 3 members and 3 prospects weekly. These efforts can supplement a class invitation/outreach leader’s efforts and assignments. Someone must take the lead! If it is everyone’s job, often no one will do it.
I have shared this before, but it is an important reminder. Andy Anderson did research back in the 1980’s and early 1990s. He researched small, medium, and large churches all over the country. He boiled down his research in a book entitled The Growth Spiral. I have written a summary of the key elements in the Spiral in an entry entitled Sunday School Growth Spiral. Contacts are one of the key elements.
I heard Andy in person on a number of occasions. I read his book and other resources. I practiced what he preached. And I saw how it worked. In one church I served, we were privileged to receive our third Eagle Award for God blessing our implementation of the balanced growth actions of the Growth Spiral which led to increased enrollment and attendance.
Andy shared three key research findings related to contacts (by card/letter, call, or visit):
on average it took about 13 contacts to lead one person to attend Sunday School–LifeWay now says the number has increased to 20;
an increase in contacts of 7-10 above the normal weekly contacts will usually result in an increase in 1 person in attendance; and
contacts should equal half or more of Sunday School enrollment every week in order to be in a growth posture.
It may be that your first step is to implement a method for attenders to report the number of contacts they are making each week. That is your baseline in order to maintain your current attendance. If you want to reach more people, you need to increase your number of contacts. Pray. Contact members, absentees, and prospects. Love them to Jesus and into the class and church. Be revolutionary!