Growth, maintenance, or decay – which word best describes your Sunday school? Every Sunday school can be classified as growing, maintaining, or decaying. How can we know the condition of our Sunday School? By keeping records and analyzing the facts.
How often have you asked yourself, "What does it take to make a Sunday School grow?" Addressing this question seems overwhelming because it implies a deeper question: "Can I find out what makes a Sunday School grow?" The answer is yes. By analyzing your Sunday School, you can move from maintenance or decay to growth.
Keeping records and analyzing facts provides you with three important factors for growth. First, you will discover your Sunday School's history. Knowing what has taken place in the past will help you plan for the future. Second, you will discover the present condition of your Sunday School. You can discover its strengths and weaknesses. Then you can use the strengths to your advantage while correcting the weaknesses so they don't become barriers to growth. Third, you can project realistic, attainable goals.
Several types of information should be collected, charted, and analyzed in order to grow.
1. Relationship between Sunday School and church attendance
2. Weekly Sunday School attendance
3. Monthly Sunday School attendance
4. Sunday School attendance in each class
5. Membership gains and losses (transfers in/out; conversions/reversions; births/deaths)
6. Ages and genders of membership by groups
7. Number of visitors per Sunday in each class
8. Reason for visitor's attending Sunday School (visitation, advertisement, friend, pastor, teacher)
9. Number and types of Sunday School classes
10. Percentage of people actively involved in Sunday School
11. Percentage of people involved in outreach compared to ministry within the Sunday School
12. Sunday school growth compared to community growth
13. Attitudes of people both involved and uninvolved in Sunday School
As you collect information, put it into a graph or a chart to get an overall picture of trends and patterns. You may discover that certain weeks are always low in attendance. You may see a relationship between the number of people involved in outreach and the number of visitors in Sunday School. You may see a relationship between the number of classes and total attendance. You may see a relationship between the sizes of classes and percentages of growth.
You can discover why people are and are not involved in Sunday School. You may find a group of people who would attend if there were a class to meet their needs.
Graph what you discover. Analyze the information, looking for cause/effect relationships.
Contact the National Sunday School Department for help with record keeping and analysis. Each month as you record and analyze data, you will discover helpful information for helping your Sunday School grow.
Collecting information is like panning for gold. You strain the sand and water until you find a nugget. You will discover nuggets as you analyze your records carefully.
Clancy Hayes is training coordinator and district liaison for the Sunday School Department, Springfield, Missouri. Sunday School. All rights reserved. Used with permission.