Traditionally, fall is “back to school” time and back to Sunday School time too! But in the last year, COVID has thrown a wrench into many of our church plans. Yet the pandemic may have been a blessing in disguise, giving churches time to scrutinize their ministries and plan for the future. Now that more churches and schools are open and fall is rolling around once again, how do churches get people back into Sunday School? Let me throw out three suggestions for reintroducing Sunday School in your church.
Stress Clean and Safe
It has never been more important to make sure your church’s classrooms are clean each Sunday. Parents want to know that their children are meeting in a safe and healthy environment. I believe this means churches have to do some planning. First, recruit a cleaning crew of volunteers that can go into each classroom and wipe it down. Be sure to give the crew clear instructions on cleaning and preparing the rooms. Then publish your plan—making sure each parent, grandparent, and guardian receives a copy—to help set minds at ease.
Get the Word Out
The first step in reintroducing Sunday School is to let your community and congregation know that you are open for business. It’s time to build some anticipation for your Sunday School after these months of fear, doubt, social distancing, and mask wearing. Many people are ready to gather with their church family again. Encourage individual Sunday School teachers to stay in regular communication with their particular students.
Postcards are a cost-effective means of keeping in touch. Strong Students welcome postcards not only let students know their teachers are thinking about them and looking forward to seeing them, but they also introduce parents to the importance of Sunday School and identify what kids will learn at their age or grade level.
Make sure you know what you need and want to communicate as you prepare to promote your fall Sunday School; for example, safety, cleaning, fall events and studies for various ages, new ideas, new teachers, or any other changes that might be coming to your Sunday School. If your ministry is able to hold Vacation Bible School this summer, be sure to invite each VBS student to your fall Sunday School. It is vital to maximize every opportunity to meet with, talk to, email, text, mail, or phone potential students to let them know how vital they are to your church’s Sunday School ministry.
Plan a Big Day
Far too often church leaders believe that everyone in their church is familiar with Sunday School, but what some of your church attenders do not know about your Sunday School may surprise you. Leadership should communicate with the entire congregation, promoting Sunday School often. If leaders are excited about and believe in your Sunday School, your congregation will pick up on it. So make a big deal of reintroducing Sunday School! Consider dedicating one whole Sunday to talk about, pray for, promote, and introduce your church’s Sunday School program.
And why not go BIG? It’s not too late to plan a Sunday School kickoff. You could plan something as simple as holding a church lunch on the first Sunday of September. Or choose a Saturday for a more elaborate day of games, bouncy houses, food, etc. Either way, make the kickoff a fun time for families, helping them feel welcome and excited about attending Sunday School!