Improving and/or increasing Sunday School attendance has been a perennial subject here at Rotation.org. Indeed, in many ways, this entire site is devoted to helping increase or improve Sunday School attendance by improving the lesson experience.
- Increasing = adding more kids
- Improving = helping a kid/family go from 1 to 3 weeks per month.
Your ideas and stories about "what works" welcome!
Facts to chew on:
1. Some attendance factors are out of our immediate control. These factors can include pastoral leadership, worship, and adult education offerings that are lackluster, and the demographics of a congregation and its neighborhood. As we like to say around here, "kids don't drive themselves to church."
2. The quality of our Sunday School and teaching is a contributing factor to attendance. While kids don't drive themselves, today's kids have a larger influence on their parent's attendance behavior. The Workshop Rotation Model was created in part, to address the children's "experience" of Sunday School -- to help them both learn AND want to return. Decades of boring Sunday School have now created two or more generation of parents don't want to subject their children to the same thing.
3. The world has changed. (But these should not be excuses for abandoning teaching the Bible to kids.)
- More adults are working weekends.
- Kids and parents have more options and activities competing for their attention.
- It's easier to find things to do (and find peers doing them) on Sunday morning than it was 40 years ago.
- The definition of "regular attendance" has changed from "nearly every week" to 1 or 2 times a month. This change parallels the trends in attitude regarding spirituality and "institutional church" among younger generations being measured by research groups such as Barna and Pew.
- Growing secularization of society. Simply put, churches have lost many "nominal" or "notional" Christians.
- Some churches have been substituting children's worship for Sunday School in part or entirely (and the two are not the same thing).
- Many of today's adult Christians did not grow up with a dynamic children's ministry experience, and thus, don't understand its importance.
- Your "change" here.
4. Worship and fellowship are not substitutes for teaching and learning, they are equal parts of a balanced faith and faithful church. An understanding of the major stories and teachings of the Bible is an essential part of what it means to be a Christian and guide to Christian living. Faith in Christ requires knowledge and understanding of his life teachings and life story.