Why Enrollment Matters


By Bruce Raley and David Francis

This is Part 7 of a series of blog posts excerpted from Extreme Sunday School Challenge by Bruce Raley and David Francis. 

The more lost people enrolled in Sunday School, the more likely we are to see people come to faith in Christ. 

Andy Anderson was a pastor in Florida that reached and discipled hundreds of new believers through Sunday School. He is credited as being the developer of “The Sunday School Growth Spiral.”

Andy discovered that one out of every three lost people who were enrolled in Sunday School would accept Christ within a year. We have found this to be true though the years of ministry as well. It makes sense. The more lost people enrolled in Sunday School, the more likely we are to see people come to faith in Christ.

For many churches, Sunday School is not evangelistic. It can’t be…there are no lost people in the classes! This should be a spiritual burden. This should be a prayer concern. This should drive us to action.

Since evangelism should be a priority of a Sunday School, enrollment of lost people must also be a priority. Lost people will not study the Word if they are not present. It begins with enrolling them, mixed with accepting them, loving them, and praying for them.

But it takes more than a stated philosophical purpose or a banner on a wall. It takes determination and a willingness to work.

Every person in the Sunday School can and should invite someone to attend with them. When we invite them, we can enroll them.

When a person is enrolled, that person is:

1. More likely to experience a sense of belonging.

  • Softens the heart so people will be open to the truth.
  • Provides a foundation of trust.
  • Establishes the context for biblical community.

They are members not prospects!

2. More likely to attend. 

  • Encourages active participation in the Bible study group.
  • Invites the beginning of relationships.
  • Keeps people in the disciple making process.

Members are expected to attend. 

3. More likely to receive ministry from the class. 

  • Initiates the caring ministry and regular contact.
  • Allows everyone in the group to participate in the care of other group members.
  • Reminds the leader of his or her role as shepherd to all.

It’s a ministry list, not just a roll filled with names. 

extreme ss challenge

This article is excerpted from Extreme Sunday School Challenge: Engaging Our World Through New Groups by Bruce Raley and David Francis. Download a free copy of the book by clicking here.

Bruce Raley is Director of Church Education Ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources. He served in education ministry roles in churches in Arkansas and Florida before being called to LifeWay in 2006. Bruce and Donna have two married adult children. In 2011, they began a new young adult group at their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

David Francis is Director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay in 1997, he served as minister of education at First Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. David and his wife, Vickie, love teaching preschool Sunday School and are helping start a new adult class in their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.


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