My family and I recently was on vacation in Pigeon Forge. One of my teenage daughters loves amusement parks, and so naturally, I gave up a great day to play golf and we all went to Dollywood. I had a great experience and believe that Sunday School leaders could learn from Dollywood practices.
First, every worker was overly friendly. My wife and I commented that the ride operators were having fun and engaged with the clientele. This was in stark contrast to an early experience this summer at another amusement park. At that park, the workers were grumpy and just fulfilling their duty. When guests come to your Sunday School class, do you treat each one as a special guest or they just a visitor that you have to tolerate. Leviticus 19:34 states, “the true test is not how we treat one another, but how we treat the stranger among us.”
Second, the atmosphere of the park demonstrated excellence. Flowers were blooming, music playing, and cleaniness was a priority. We need to pay attention to the atmosphere of our classes and our churches.
-Pay attention to the little things: Is your classroom cluttered? Does it shout we are prepared for you!
-Parking-Do you have designated spots for guests? Do you have ample parking spaces?
-Signs…there can never be too many signs.
-Welcome Center/Welcome People-All churches need to point guests to a place or a person that is available to answer their questions. If your campus is spread out, multiple welcome centers will be needed.
Upon arriving at Dollywood, I was given a map and directory of that day’s show schedule. The role of the Sunday school is to connect unchurched guests with the regular attendees and church members. The guest must see and connect with people that are like them. Make sure that your Greeters have an updated Sunday School Directory and map in order to direct guests to the right class. Grading your Sunday School by Age or Life Stage is a great way to accomplish likeness.
I hope you apply these lessons to your Sunday School.