Building Your Ministry

For five consecutive years our church, First Baptist Church, Bronson, Michigan, has held an annual Sunday School contest during the month of October with a sister church, Colon Baptist Church, Colon, Michigan. The two Sunday School superintendents, Doug Elkins of Colon and David Farrell of Bronson, formulated the following plans for the contest last fall.

The theme: That I May Know Him—Growing in God’s Word

We had one special emphasis for each Sunday: Men’s Sunday, Ladies’ Sunday, Couples’ Sunday, Children’s Bible Club Sunday, and Enrollment Sunday. Also, we asked our people to memorize one of the following verses per Sunday and to recite the verse to the Sunday School secretaries: John 15:10, Philippians 4:13, Psalm 199:11, Matthew 6:33, and Philippians 3:10.

We awarded the following points:

  • One point for each person attending Sunday School each Sunday
  • One point for the count of each person over the average attendance from the preceding month
  • Five points for each verse recited
  • One point extra for the attendance of each member of the Men/Ladies/Couples/Children’s groups on the designated Sundays
  • One point awarded for the number over enrollment and fifty points for the church that most fulfilled or topped its enrollment (both sets of points awarded on Enrollment Sunday)

Every Sunday afternoon the superintendents called each other to report their total points. Each church announced the results in its evening service and published the scores in its bulletins.

In addition we encouraged our people’s involvement by holding an in-house contest. This year we hosted a “Super Sundae” on Sunday, November 5, during the time between Sunday School and church. Participants earned a bowl, spoon, ice cream, toppings, whipping cream, and a cherry by reciting the verses for the Sunday School contest in October. The qualifying participants received a bowl the first Sunday of the contest, a spoon the second Sunday, etc.

On the Saturday after the contest concluded, the two churches met together for a meal. Traditionally the losing church hosts the meal, providing the meat, potatoes, beverages, and table service. Everyone brings salads, vegetables, and desserts. The meal has been a great time of fellowshipping and making new friends. We look forward each year to gathering together. Beginning in October, we will alternate between the two churches to host the annual meal.

Though we would like to see more people involved in Sunday School, the idea of the contest was not to increase attendance numbers nor to win the contest, but to reach people for Christ and to fellowship with other believers. The contest has been a good feeder for our Sunday School. We have had people come to know Christ, dedicate their lives to the Lord, and reach new people for the Lord. During the 2005 contest the Lord blessed us with three people coming to know Him and five people rededicating their lives to Him.

John A. Fields, Pastor
First Baptist Church
Bronson, Michigan