Counting active enrollment
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--We all recognize the sometimes dramatic gap between our enrollment and our average attendance in Sunday School. But have you ever counted your active enrollment?
There are a number of advantages to tracking this monthly measurement. I have used this for years to motivate and encourage Sunday School leaders. Here's how:
1. Count the names of each member who attended at least once during the month. You will be encouraged to discover how much greater this number is than your average attendance.
2. Do not count the names of visitors. Leaders have frequently asked me, "Can we count guests?" My answer: "If you enroll them!" This is a great incentive to keep the concept of open enrollment at the top of leaders' minds -- especially near the end of each month.
3. In adult groups, count the names of all associate/service members. The total picture of health in the adult department or class is incomplete without recognizing the group's contribution to the overall ministry. In fact, this may be the most important variable in the equation. Of course, if you are measuring the active enrollment of the entire Sunday School you will eliminate this number in your total to avoid double-counting. But count it to measure the strength of each adult group.
4. Report the results. You will be so delighted to know this number that you'll want to report it. Your pastor will especially appreciate it. And before long, you will see a renewed emphasis and energy among group leaders and others to contact absentee members, too.
5. A bonus idea: Reward the results. Some of you will be turned off by this idea, but I actually implemented it very successfully among adults. Each group had a fellowship budget that they controlled. They "earned" their budget based on their active enrollment. How does it work? Every month, active enrollment is calculated as above. Then an amount is credited to the group's fellowship fund -- say, 10 cents for each active member and 20 cents for each associate/service member. Most groups saved up their funds to help with a big Christmas party, but they could spend the funds on other fellowship or ministry needs as well. You might imagine how anxious the leaders were to see their active enrollment figures each month. What's more important was the increased attention to enrolling new members, contacting absentees and caring for associate/service members.
You get what you measure -- and reward.
David Francis is director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.