During a recent hair cut appointment, the lady who styles my hair shared that her and her husband had found a Sunday School class. They had just started visiting my church and I inquired what made you choose this class. The class was a class that my wife had attended for a while. She shared that the class was made of bikers and that her husband love to ride. Consequently, one reason my wife chose not to stay in the class is because too much time was spent talking and planning for Bike rides. The Bikers loved the class and the non-biker didn’t. This group was great at reaching people who loved to ride.
For years before God started opening the door for me to preach in various churches, I taught a Sunday School class. Through the years, we had many guests to the Sunday School class. Despite my excellent teaching (ha), not every guest chose to remain in the class. I noticed through the years that the guests that chose to remain usually had three main characteristics: First, they had children of the same ages as my regular attenders. Second, they enjoyed an interactive teaching style. Third, the husband loved to hunt and fish. As a class, we began to target guests and prospects that made up this people group.
Both of these classes took advantage of the church growth principles of homogeneity and receptivity. Through the years, I have heard people argue against these two principles, but in reality, human beings largely associate with people that are like them. Facebook recognizes these principles and even recommends friends based on common characteristics. Such as this person might be a friend because they grew up in your hometown, graduated from your college, or have the same hobbies or interests.
“Targeting” is a key component of growing a Sunday School. Classes must understand who they are seeking to reach and make a strong commitment to reach that group. Create new classes or groups to reach unreached groups or groups that the current organization has not proven to be effective in reaching. A Sunday School director should develop a directory that clearly identifies the people groups, age groups, or life stages that serve as the primary target for each class.
Teachers, know your people group. Pastors and Sunday School Leaders, know the people groups that your church currently reaches, easily could reach, and those groups that might require Kingdom partnerships with other churches and ministries to effectively reach your community. The goal is to proclaim Christ to every people group, so that every man, woman, and child may be presented perfect in Christ.