Growing or Dying Every Sabbath
A problem sabbath school teachers encounter all across the world is that members fail to review their lessons for the sabbath school class. Many strategies have been attempted over the years to varying results.
Some teachers have tried giving rewards for students who study and participate. This method has worked but can get expensive, and often the students return to their previous behavior after the reward system is complete. Some teachers have tried to guilt people to read, but consistent nagging can lead to even fewer students studying. You can try starting a group chat with your members and send reminders during the week. This approach may also work for some folks, while others will ignore the messages.
Below are two new methods to try with your church. Your results may vary, but keep trying different ways until you find one that resonates with your congregation.
- Motivation by numbers
Motivation is not only a problem in the church but also in the corporate world. One strategy they use is to share the performance of all the employees with respect to you.
For example, "You picked 300 apples today, the average worker picks 250 apples per day, you in the top 5 best apple pickers, great job! We appreciate your efforts!" Or it could be, "You picked 200 apples today, the average worker picks 250 apples per day, you are almost there! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you reach your goals!"
So how do we apply this to our lesson study? Collect the numbers of members present, as well as those who studied their lesson that week. At the end of each week's sabbath school, make a report. "Did you study this week's lesson? If your answer is yes, I would like you to know that you are in the majority. Today we had 50 members present, of which 30 reviewed this week's lesson. You are fulfilling the biblical call to hide the word of God in your heart. We appreciate that you have come ready to learn and share what you have learned. As you spend time in the word, may it transform your heart and mind to be more and more like Jesus."
"Did you study this week's lesson? If your answer is no, I would like you to know that you are in the minority. Today we had 50 members present, of which 30 reviewed this week's lesson. We are sorry you missed the great treasures that were hidden in the word for you this week. The review this morning was just the tip of the iceberg of the gems in the lesson. Next week is a new week. You can't afford to miss an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to unveil His truth to you through the word. If you need a study partner or just someone to send you a reminder, see me after, and one will be provided."
2.The Church Plant
Another approach is to purchase a small shrub at the beginning of the quarter. This is to be kept in a pot at the front of the church. Label the pot "The Church". Use masking tape to create thirteen little tags on all the branches or leaves. Each tag represents a lesson number. At the end of each lesson, check the percentage of members who reviewed the week's lesson. Choose a minimum percentage you consider satisfactory such as 80% 0r 90%. If the number of members who review falls below the agreed percentage, clip off one of the 13 branches or leaves from the plant.
Each week repeat the statement, if we are not growing in the word, we are dying. Plead with the members to save "the Church" from death.