How to Have a Special Day in Your Sunday School Class

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Most people are somehow under the impression that special days in a church just happen and that the preparation comes together on its own. Having a special day of any kind takes hard work and much preparation if it is to be effective.

Here at Lancaster Baptist Church, we have several “special” days throughout the year. But none of them compare to our annual Open House in October. This is a time when our church family strives together to see as many guests in attendance as we possibly can on the same day. Every year, hours upon hours of preparation are put into every aspect of this one special day, and by God’s grace, we have been able to see many first-time guests attend.

But it doesn’t end there. The week after Open House Sunday, we push for a big day in our adult Bible fellowships (Sunday school classes). Some people assume that visitors will automatically come back the next week and get involved just because they were at the church the previous week, but ministry doesn’t work that way. Like my dad always said, blessings do not ride piggyback. We cannot just borrow the momentum from a big day and expect it to carry through into our classes.

Here are some ideas that can help us have a tremendous Sunday the week following a special day:


Oswald Chambers said, “We can do lots of things after we pray, but we can do nothing before we pray!” We have all been guilty of trying to do God’s work in our own flesh from time to time, but we must remember that the arm of flesh will fail us. This is why we must have God’s power. We should definitely be praying individually that God will bless our efforts and bring guests into the class, but we should also pray as a class. Schedule a class prayer meeting and encourage your members to pray throughout the week for the special day.

Make sure everyone on your rosters gets a personal visit.

Sometimes as teachers we can get so focused on the people who are on the fringe, that we take for granted those who are faithfully attending our class. We cannot just expect people to be there. Encourage the ones who haven’t been to class in a while and the faithful ones that come each week.

NOTE: If you have a bigger class and wouldn’t be able to visit each member the week leading up to the special day, enlist some help from your leaders in the class and let them help you.

Send an email to everyone.

Send out an email about halfway through the week to remind your class about the upcoming special day and to let them know that you want them to be a part of it.

NOTE: If you frequently connect with your class through email, try changing it up by using a graphic, sending a video, or somehow making it look different.

Organize a phone call campaign the Saturday before.

Never underestimate the power of a phone call. Have some of your members help by calling to remind people about the special day.

Send text messages.

Use technology and social media to your advantage! It’s free, quick, convenient, and personal. Just send an individual text to everyone and let them know that you’ve been praying for them and that you are looking forward to seeing them the next morning.

NOTE: Don’t send group text messages.

Mail a postcard.

Try to have some postcards printed specifically for your class. Put the information about the special day on it (the lesson, the fellowship, special refreshments, etc.).

Provide a prospect card.

Two weeks before the special day, have your members fill out a card with the following information for someone they know who could be a part of the class: name, phone number, email, and address. Also, include a place with these options that they can choose from: 1) Make plans to visit this couple with me; 2) Contact this couple and use my name; 2) Contact this couple, but keep me anonymous; 3) Pray for me as I contact this couple.

Knock on extra doors.

If you want to have a big day, go soul winning! Challenge your class to go as well but lead them by example. God blesses our obedience and faithfulness to go out.

Provide a commitment card.

This card should say something like: “I ______ commit to be the guest of ______ on [date of special day].” Give them out in your class so they can start to commit people to be their guest on the special day.

Have a competition.

You could give a $5 Starbucks gift card to each first-time guest. You could have a competition between the ladies and men. You could also have a focus on inactive members in the class. We recently challenged the leaders in our class with this. I assigned them a new care group and gave each leader an inactive member who hadn’t been in over 6 months. I told them to just pray for them and to ask God to allow them to be the difference maker to help that inactive member be an active member before we reshuffle our care groups again in the spring.

Supply class cards to everyone in class.

Give out class cards the Sunday before to your members so they can pass them out to neighbors or coworkers.

Prepare your class for this day.

Teach your class how to have a special day. Often your own class is as intimidated by first-time guests as first-time guests are by your class. If you are praying for first-time guests, you need to train your class how to treat those guests. Let your class know that you need them to intentionally greet guests, offer the guests a seat by them, sing when it’s time to sing choruses, and pay attention during the lesson. The last thing you want is someone distracted by someone falling asleep during the lesson or a guest who is focused on half of the class that isn’t singing along.

Refresh your weekly cue card.

Make sure everything you are doing is to the best of your ability. Evaluate what needs refreshed coming into your special day by asking yourself these questions: How do we currently run our class? What order do we do things in? Should anything be done differently? Should anything be changed or eliminated? Is anything awkward? Is anything irrelevant?

Print extra bulletins.

We need to believe by faith that we are going to have a special day, which means that we should prepare for the harvest that God is going to send. Don’t print the same amount of bulletins as you normally do! If you do, you are basically saying to God that you expect nothing different to happen. If we don’t expect something different, it’s because we have invested no greater effort. My effort should match my expectation.

Enlist special greeters.

Train them how to greet a first-time guest—smile, handshake, etc. Teach them how to seat people. Make your first-time guests feel like a million dollars and treat them like royalty.

NOTE: You may even need some greeters outside of the classroom ready to help first-time guests find your class.

Coordinate extra refreshments.

Plan for extra guests and have your class members get involved. Don’t run out of coffee or donuts!

Prepare a quality lesson.

When we’re involved in the preparation of a special day, sometimes we wait until Saturday night to put together our lesson. Be sure that you are prepared to stand and teach the Word of God and that the representation is right. Also, make sure that the lesson is practical and covers some of the basic things of the Christian life.

Have extra connection cards.

Make sure every first-time guest has a connection card to fill out. Get more members involved to help you get these filled out and turned in.

Follow up.

After a special day, we have an intense amount of follow up. Visit each person that visited your class. Thank them for coming and see if they have any questions. Look for opportunities to share the gospel and lead them to the Lord. I have written more about this in a previous post.

Send thank you notes.

Watch for people during the special day who shine in your class (greeting people, bringing visitors, serving refreshments, etc.). Look for those who help you make it such a special day. Thank them for catching the vision.

It’s important that we remember that special days don’t just happen because we write it on a calendar. Special days are exciting ~but they require preparation, training, and follow up.

Let me know what other ideas have worked for you.