Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC), a state convention of Southern Baptist
churches, annually identifies its top one hundred fastest growing Sunday
schools. The 2008 study revealed that those one hundred churches, which
amounted to 2.8 percent of the GBC churches, accounted for 11 percent of
the baptisms in the year of study (see table 1.1). The top twenty-five
in each of the following categories are considered: Small-those
averaging fewer than 100 in Sunday school attendance; Intermediate-those
averaging 100 to 199 in attendance; Medium-those averaging 200 to 399 in
attendance; and Large-those averaging more than 400 in attendance. As
the figures demonstrate, these one hundred churches baptized 58 percent
more than they did three years ago. By contrast, the other 3,469
churches in our state denomination had baptized 6.2 percent fewer than
they had three years ago.
On the other side, effective evangelism can have a profound effect on
the Sunday school. The annual reports submitted by our churches revealed
that 23 percent provide training in personal evangelism for their
members.2 By contrast, a study of our state's fastest growing Sunday
schools revealed that 85 percent provide personal evangelism training.'
It is not hard to figure out that as more people are trained and
challenged to share their faith, more people trust Christ as their
Savior. As more people trust Christ, more people become involved in the
Sunday school or the small groups of the church.
research has revealed that participation in Sunday school makes a
dramatic difference in the assimilation of a new believer (see figure
1.1). The survey questioned people who had received Christ as Savior
five years earlier. Of those who immediately became active in Sunday
school, 83 percent were still active five years later. By contrast, only
16 percent were still active if they did not become active in Sunday
school immediately after becoming a believer. What a dramatic
difference! Commenting on these findings, the researchers concluded:
"With this type of data, one might expect churches to give high priority
to getting new members involved in a small group immediately. We
certainly found the formerly unchurched to have an enthusiastic view of
small groups, particularly Sunday school.... The picture is clear: the
formerly unchurched `stick to' a church when they get involved in a
small group. Let us pray that more churches will learn this lesson"'
Steve Parr. Sunday School That Really Works: A Strategy for
Connecting Congregations and Communities (pp. 18-19). Kindle Edition.