In 2006, the Sunday School at First Baptist Church in Whitesburg was averaging 33. Last year the church reported an average attendance of 50 in Sunday School with 60 in worship. This represents a 66% attendance increase in just three years. The church was recognized as one of our Fastest Growing Sunday Schools for 2008 in the Small size churches (99 or less in Worship attendance).
Mark Buehler, Sunday School Director, shared three basic keys to explain their growth in Sunday School. First, Buehler shares that the Sunday School must be undergirded with prayer. One-half hour prior to the start of Sunday School, the doors of the church are open and members gather to pray. God is answering the prayers of these members.
Second, the Biblical command to make disciples is taken seriously. FBC’s goal is first and foremost to seek God. They believe if they are pleasing to the Lord, He will provide the growth. Last year, each Sunday School member was challenged to read the entire Bible in one year and to participate in weekly Bible study and worship.
Third, the importance of Sunday School is highlighted weekly. The pastor encourages people to stay for Sunday School during every church service.
The church faces a common barrier for growing Sunday Schools, finding and enlisting leaders. Getting the right people to teach the right class and encouraging people to move outside their comfort zone to step up and serve have been their greatest challenge. Buehler believes that encouragement and affirmation are the keys to motivating leaders.
Zig Ziglar stated, “As important as the past is to the present. The most important thing to the present is how we see the future.” Buehler’s advice to other Sunday School Directors is to never give up or look back “Always, always, always” look ahead and up to God to seek His will.”