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“KEY” Strategies For
a Healthy Sunday
School Ministry
Keith M. Stewart
Consultant
Sunday School/Open Group Ministries
Georgia Baptist Convention
ssog.gabaptist.org
• What do Southern Baptist Sunday
Schools have in common?
• Although they may appear to be doing
the same thing, they are not getting the
same results.
• One of the key differences is how they
view the purpose of the Sunday
School.
• The perceived purpose can be an
energizer or a barrier!
KEY #1 – Leaders Understand the
Purpose of Sunday School
• “The purpose of the Sunday School is
to study the Bible.”
• This definition is not incorrect; it is
incomplete.
• Historically, the purpose of the Sunday
School was centered on the study of
the Bible with the ultimate aim of
reaching people with the Gospel as
believers are directed by the Great
Commission.
KEY #1 – Leaders Understand the
Purpose of Sunday School
• The Driving Force of Sunday School
is the Great Commission
• “Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and the Son and
the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age.”
The Driving Force Should Not Be …
•Tradition
•Money
•Structure
•Power
What is the purpose?
• “Sunday School is the foundational
strategy in a local church for leading
people to faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ and for building Great
Commission Christians through
Bible Study Groups that engage
people in evangelism, discipleship,
fellowship, ministry, and worship.”
KEY #2 – Sunday School is
Organized for Growth & Ministry
Good organization will encompass the
church as well as individual classes.
To age-grade or not?
Age grading simplifies organization.
Age grading assists guests
Age grading assimilates
Age grading gives accountability for
follow-up
Remember: We are called to be
committed, not comfortable.
Adult Class Leadership Team
The teacher cannot do it alone!
Class Teacher
Apprentice
Evangelism Leader Fellowship Leader
Assistant
Assistant
Class Coorindator
Prayer Leader
Ministry Leader
Assistant
Care Group Leader Care Group Leader
Care Group Leader Care Group Leader
Remember:
• “Sunday School is not just
another organization in your
church.
It is the church
organized
for
growth
and
ministry.”
•
•
•
•
•
Sunday School is assimilation
Sunday School impacts giving
Sunday School improves evangelism
Sunday School is ministry
Strong Sunday School = Strong Church
KEY #3 – Enrollment is Properly
Defined & Applied
• Enrollment is a list of people that
I commit to minister to.
• When do you enroll? When do
you remove?
• Open Enrollment:
–Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime, As
long as they agree.
KEY #3 – Enrollment is Properly
Defined & Applied
Two Keys to Evaluating Enrollment:
1- How does your enrollment compare
with your resident membership?
2- Attendance should be 40-60% of
enrollment.
–Less than 40% reflects weak ministry
–More than 60% reflects weak outreach
KEY #4 – Contacts Are Made With
Consistency
• Contacts are ministry touches through
visits, cards, e-mails, letters, or calls.
• Effective
ministries
average
100%
contacts each week!
• Why? To minister to members and for
outreach to prospects.
• Results: Members know you care and
prospects know they are wanted.
• What happens when absentees go
unnoticed?
KEY #5 – Leaders Are Trained For
Effectiveness
• II Timothy 1:6
• “An untrained Soldier is nothing
more than a target for the enemy.”
– Andy Anderson
• Every winning team meets to
practice, prepare,
and strategize!
KEY #6 – Space Is Provided For
Growth
• If you are going to grow you must have room to
grow but don’t limit yourself because of no
space!
– Preschool formula - 35 square feet per person
– Children’s formula - 25 square feet per person
– Youth & Adult formulas - 18 square feet per person
• Total education space square footage ____
divided by 45 square feet per person = ____
(MSSA) x 80% = _____ (ASSA).
– (Average class attendance: Preschool:7, Children:10,
Youth:8 & Adults:12)
• Find new space, be creative!
KEY #7 – There Is Plan For
Outreach
• Churches cannot grow without prospects
• A person is not a prospect until you have:
– Name, Address, Phone, Age & Spiritual
Condition
• 1 of 2 lost people enrolled in Sunday
School will be saved. 1 of 400 not enrolled
will be saved.
• Rainer Study of Assimilation:
– 90% vs 10%
Key #8- New Units are Created
•
•
•
•
•
New Units reach new people!
Adjust your terminology
Create a “missionary climate”
Plan, implement, and celebrate
Where Do We Start New Units?
•
•
•
•
•
•
Look at class performance: enrollment and attendance
Classes with too wide an age span
Classes to large for their room
Nearly and Newly Weds
Special Needs Classes
Off-campus Bible studies
KEY #8 – New Units Are Created
• Take your enrollment and divide it by the
number of classes.
– less than 14 per class… a non-outreach church
– 15-18 per class … a growing church
– 19-29 per class … a maintenance or plateaued
church
– more than 30 per class … a declining church or
your back door is wide open
• The best way to create a class is to …
Step By Step
1. The teacher should enlist an apprentice.
2. The apprentice should teach once per
month.
3. The teacher should announce the birth of a
new class six weeks before.
4. Four to eight members or couples accept
call as “missionaries” to new class.
5. Veteran teacher takes missionaries to new
class.
6. Apprentice teacher becomes leader of
established class.
FINALLY:
• KEY #1 – Leaders Understand The Purpose Of
Sunday School
• KEY #2 – Sunday School Is Organized For
Growth & Ministry
• KEY #3 - Enrollment Is Properly Defined And
Applied
• KEY #4 - Contacts Are Made With Consistency
• KEY #5 - Leaders Are Trained For Effectiveness
• KEY #6 - Space Is Provided For Growth
• KEY #7 – There Is A Plan Outreach
• KEY #8 – New Units Are Created
ssog.gabaptist.org
“KEY” Strategies For
a Healthy Sunday
School Ministry
Keith M. Stewart
Consultant
Sunday School/Open Group Ministries
Georgia Baptist Convention
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