Increasing Sunday School Attendance in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
They say, that a fish can only grow as large as the tank in which it’s contained. If you’re a Pastor and are not realizing the importance of a healthy Sunday School program or you do and are not seeing any appreciable growth, then these 5 steps for increasing Sunday School attendance and why it’s important for your congregation, can help get you on your way.
Do Your Research And Set Attainable Goals – Assess your congregation to find out which families have children, how many, and their ages. Make a list of their contact information. Assess and measure all available physical space. Explore your options for using unconventional spaces for classrooms. Based on these factors, set an attainable goal.
Choose The Right Director And Motivations – Having the right Sunday School director is key to growing the program. A good Sunday School director motivates the teachers, and as well as assisting them with supplies, trains and equips them with the knowledge they need to teach effectively.
Plan For And Anticipate Growth – Think beyond current enrollment and attendance. Think past the ‘at a minimum’ you want. Add classes and teachers NOW, so you are prepared to grow in the future. Active preschoolers need 25-35 square foot per person, young children need 20-25, and teens and young adults need 12-15 square feet. Also, keep in mind that when your Sunday preschool classroom gets too full, it has an impact on the young adults and seniors who care for your preschoolers.
Find Committed People And Train Them Well – You will need 15 people to staff five every 5 classrooms. When looking for those people, don’t just make a half-hearted announcement after services or stop someone in the parking lot to make your weak-kneed appeal. Instead, make a list of the people you feel have the potential to make a great Sunday School teacher, then create a job description of what you’d like them to do. Don’t approach anyone who is already serving in other roles in the congregation (that’s about 20% of your congregation). Instead, look at who from the other 80% would make viable candidates. Before you personally approach those people, spend some time prioritizing your choices, and then pray over it.
This may sound crazy, but prayer never hurts! Make an appointment to visit with these potential candidates and extend the invitation personally. Answer their questions and give them a window of time to get back to you with their decision.
Find and Create Space – Never let a lack of space limit you! To grow your program, you must have teachers ready to teach, and a place for them to teach. Move any existing classes into smaller rooms, or if that isn’t possible, use a portable room divider to divide the space you have into two or smaller spaces. Because program growth tends to slow and stop when classroom space reaches 80% of capacity, stay ahead of it by creating a new class when any existing class reaches its 80% of capacity.
The situation you never want to be in is having to turn away a child because you let your program stagnate, either over a presumed lack of space or not enlisting the right people to lead or teach.