Skip to main content

Church Administration

Ben Stroup tweeted a question yesterday about what one church admin responsibility would you drop.

My response was Sunday School attendance taking.

Since he works for Lifeway, he was rightly dismayed by my answer.

Now, I'm not against taking attendance for Sunday School. What I'd do away with is the multiple redundancy system that we use here. However, I'll roll with the wider question:

What good does taking attendance in Sunday School do?

Really. If you don't know that someone isn't there only if they aren't on the roll sheet, then you have failed the relationship purpose of Sunday School. Either your class is too big or your eyes are too small.

What about visitors? What about them? You can't get a person to go one-on-one and get their name and information?

What about recording the attendance? What about it? Any SBC church going to cancel Sunday School because attendance is down? Or do we use the numbers either to create an artificial target or perpetuate criticism?

So, we'll keep counting around here, taking attendance, turning in attendance, counting it, re-adding it, re-checking it Monday morning, then calling in a panic when the Monday add-up doesn't match the Sunday add-up, all over either latecomers or bad math. Meanwhile, we'll keep 2 people out of Bible study on Sunday morning to facilitate the numbers, interrupt classes to get attendance sheets, and use resources to print, reprint, and store years of Sunday School records.

Seriously, folks, are we sure we need this?

Doug

Comments

  1. I totally agree. It would also gives us more people that could commit to teaching classes!

    ReplyDelete
  2. A few thoughts:

    1. Sunday School enrollment is the more important number. It drives attendance and has for decades been 50% of enrollment for the SBC as a whole.

    2. SS attendance is a valid measurement, but don't know that I know of many churches that go to heroic efforts to get it; thus the numbers are probably understated.

    3. Pastors and staff who freak out over year-over-year for the same Sunday or Sunday-over-Sunday numbers will make themselves crazy!

    4. I think there is a better number. I call it "active attendance." Calculated monthly. Two components: Number of members who attended at least once during the month (visitors get counted if they enroll!) PLUS the number of service/associate members of the class serving in kids and student classes. This is a better metric of a class's strength, in my view. And pastors really like the first part of the calculation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ok, I just typed this out, and now have to do it again. Ack.

    Anon #1: Fred, is that you again? (Fred is one of our church members that posts 'anonymous' comments, and then asks me at church if I've read his comments. He's not very anonymous.)

    Anon #2: Those are some good ideas, and some better metrics than what we use.

    We are working towards making sure our classes remember those who are serving. Some of our teachers have been teaching so long, they'd be in a different class than the one they left to go teach!

    It's a good thing to take our pulse and see if we're healthy.

    Yesterday, I spent a lot of time in 'idealistic preacher-land' and was thinking it would be good to have an accountability method within the church. Rather than just check off church members for attendance, on Monday, have them email or fill out a web form, stating that they were here, and what they learned. And only count the ones that remember something from Sunday School other than what color hat the Jones Sisters were wearing. Same thing with worship attendance.

    Well, such thoughts are born of time in the office...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: Vindicating the Vixens

Well, if Vindicating the Vixens doesn’t catch your attention as a book title, I’m not sure what would. This volume, edited by Sandra L. Glahn (PhD), provides a look at some of the women of the Bible who are “Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized.” As is frequently the case, I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review.Let’s take this a stage at a time. First stage: book setup. This is primarily an academic Biblical Studies book. Be prepared to see discussions of Greek and Hebrew words, as appropriate. You’ll also need a handle on the general flow of Biblical narrative, a willingness to look around at history, and the other tools of someone who is truly studying the text. This is no one-day read. It’s a serious study of women in the Bible, specifically those who either faced sexual violence or who have been considered sexually ‘wrong’ across years of study.A quick note: this book is timely, not opportunistic. The length of time to plan, assign, develop, and publish a multi…