Research on Sunday School current effectiveness

 

Sunday School That Really Works bookThe 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.

Further 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.

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