We are called to equip the saints for works of service. In my experience, those who drop out of church tend to stop growing as disciples and quit serving Him! With that said, it is essential to spend time with class members assessing their connections. In order to make more accurate assessment, we need to check out some key areas:
- CLASS ATTENDANCE. How faithfully do they attend class? If they attend at least three Sundays each month, this is a positive indicator of assimilation. Attendance at two or fewer Sundays each month or a decrease in frequency indicates a need for immediate attention.
- WORSHIP ATTENDANCE. If worship attendance, like Sunday School, is at least three Sundays each month, this is a positive indicator. If worship attendance is two or few Sundays each month or if lower than Sunday School attendance frequency, this can be a sign of problems that might benefit from care.
- MINISTRY INVOLVEMENT. One measure of assimilation in the church/class is the person’s involvement in a ministry of the church or class. Attendance without ministry involvement can be an indicator of a lower level of connection.
- NUMBER OF FRIENDS. In my doctoral research in Louisville area church adult Sunday School classes, persons who had six or more friends in class they could call on in time of need were more likely to be a frequent attender. If they had two or fewer friends in class, they were more likely to be a dropout. Notice relationships.
- GIVING. I know. I know. There is no way to know what your attenders give. But you can observe them in worship. You can ask them casually and privately. You can talk about stewardship in class. You can look for the signs. In my experience, those who tithe or give above the tithe are likely to be assimilated at a deeper level than those who don’t.
- CLASS LESSON INVOLVEMENT. Those who sit in class without participating in the lesson tend not to be as connected to the class. It is easier for them to leave and easier for them to leave without being missed/pursued. Work to get everyone involved.
- FELLOWSHIP/PROJECT INVOLVEMENT. Those who participate in class activities beyond Sunday are often more relationally invested in the group. Make sure to invite absentees and guests to join you in your class fellowships and projects.
Don’t forget the benefits of greeters and name tags. Organize your class
to invest in care. Take responsibility for the sheep God has entrusted into your care. Don’t allow them to wander out of your sight without your notice. Address indicators of diminishing assimilation immediately. Ask someone in class (class secretary and/or care group leaders) to help you notice these changes. Pray and respond in care!