Do you wonder how to increase Sunday school attendance? Are you tired of having parties, bribing kids with candy, or special projects?
Try a different approach: Apply the biblical principles of seeking God’s will and then praying in accordance with His will, with His direction, and with His guidance. Here’s the prescription from 1 John 5:14: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:”
Prayer is a guaranteed way to develop Sunday school or other children’s ministry program, but it must be done properly. Praying in accordance with God’s will always leads to the results He wants, and that raises an important point.
Having a huge Sunday school with large attendance may be a pastor, a youth minister, or a Sunday school superindent’s fondest dream, but it may not line up with God’s vision. Remember the stories of David and Goliath, and Gideon because many times God does His best work with small numbers.
Try this suggested model as you pray for your Sunday school program to increase:
Agree about the goals of the program. What does the Bible say about agreement of faith among believers? “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19).
What happens when you pray in this manner? Check out Matthew 21:22: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” In 1 John 3:21 -22, there is wise guidance about the benefits of being in agreement with God’s will rather than man’s: “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
Get a Vision
Everyone who is involved in the program should pray and seek God’s direction. The Bible is clear that when we ask for wisdom in decision-making, God provides it. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5-6)
Write Your Goals
Once you have a clear vision of how God wants the program to be grown, put the goals into writing. Make the written goals visible by posting them around the church, handing them out with church bulletins, newsletters, and other materials, and asking all Sunday school team members to post them in prominent locations in their homes such as refrigerator doors or bathroom mirrors.
Ask members to sign a pledge to pray regularly for increased Sunday school attendance. A simple way to do this is to hand out blank index cards and encourage individuals to write out their pledges. Make copies of each pledge. Give one copy to the individual and post the other copies around the church as visual reminders. Encourage folks to post their pledge on the refrigerator to give it “top of mind awareness.”
Give God the Glory
Bear witness continually to how God is increasing the Sunday school attendance. Talk about it in faith while waiting for it to manifest in the church. Follow the examples of Abraham and other faith heroes of the Bible documented in Hebrews 11:1-40. In each of these stories, the situation seemed hopeless but faith and prayer brought about the good results God desired.
While there are many valid ways to increase Sunday school attendance, a plan built around prayer and dependence on God for success is hard to beat. Ask God for a vision for His Sunday school program at your church, pray in accordance to his direction, and expect an increase because God is faithful.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, KING JAMES VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Image by anissat under royalty free license via SXC