How to Double Your Sunday School


Edwin Harper

On Easter (1983) 165,000,000 (one-hundred sixty-five million people on the North American Continent did not attend church, anywhere of any denomination or faith. Today the United Pentecostal Church is only 225,000 (two-hundred twenty-five thousand) Sunday School members strong in North America.

If you care to figure percentages or ratios, at the present we have only reached the depressing figure of .0014% of our unchurched populace and only .0009% of our total 250,000,000 (two-hundred fifty million) continental population.

We must start somewhere with realistic goals to change this horrible deficit of souls not in our Fellowship. The horrible conclusion of Paul, “If this Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost,” causes us to realize our tremendous obligation, debt and failure @J our present world in keeping them out of Hell.

It has been proposed that we attempt to double our size in the next ten years. Doubling in ten years at our best will, to a degree, change the ratio. Although it will not come near meeting the need we must do something now or face the horrible truth of Lots’ wife, who is standing still forever.

Any goal worth having must extend us beyond where we are. Where we are  demands that we respond to our situation and the unrepenting call to save the  lost. The goal to double the United Pentecostal Church puts our task to reach  the world, or at least this part of our world, in a tangible perspective as to where we are and where we can go from here. This goal is applicable to  a Home Mission church or a congregation of less than 100, it is  unquestionable in reach and possible with only a few years. For the seasoned  strongholds of 500 1,000, 1,500, to 2,000 it may take the ten year reach.  Considering the size of our constituency, it is not out of the question for us to think of training ministers, especially for home missions and raising our church populace from 3,500 to 7,000. In short, the term double only allows you the mental picture to do again in ten years what we have done in 64 years. This is not too much to expect when we consider that God has saved the brightest minds for this generation. In 5,000 years our world had not proceeded beyond the horse and wagon.

100 years from the 1860’s to the 1960’s the travel of manhad progressed from the horse and wagon to moon adventures. Do you even think the God of Heaven wants or will allow carnal growth and knowledge to outstrip the most important subject on this planet, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the saving of this world”.

To view the concept of doubling, we must focus first on our immediate family. Of the world’s three oldest institutions, the home, the state, and the church, the home is the oldest and most sacred. The home is the purest form of the church and demands us to train the fathers as priest of their households, mothers and wives as patterns ofpurity, and children who are trained in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Not only do we propose our immediate household, but our brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews. Doubling our churches by the Salvation of our families will reach our world because we are eventually related to the world.

Every neighbor should feel the effect of our walk with God. Our communication should be complimented by our lives to be effective witnesses.

The sequence of doubling is as follows:
1. Our families

2, Our neighbors

3. Our cities, counties

4. Our states

5. Our Nation

6. Our Continent

7. Our World

To see the spiral of growth develop, we must recognize the demands that doubling our constituancy will exact from us.

1. Our major point of evangelism is quantity (the  number contacts we produce).

2. Of the contacts the quality will be determined  by the conversions, baptisms and spiritual births.

3. The training or catechism sessions for the new converts will  produce growth. This will necessitate larger facilities.

4. As growth continues more staff must be developed; teachers, superintendents, secretaries, janitors, etc.

5. Public exposure with growth will take care of itself. Our growth pattern should be so planned as to compliment the church.

6. As we plan for %rowth the following things should be considered; convenient parking, adequate seating, 22. air-conditioning, public address system and special ministry facilities.

With the growth of the church note the pattern it will take.

1. Because you have made the unlimited Gospel call, “Whosoever  Will” you are going to reach PEOPLE, bringing numbers of them into the  church.

2. In these people you must discover what are their natural  abilities. In your new converts comes a new catalog of talent and abilities.  These new talents will help meet demands of a revival church.

3. These talented people will stir certain levels of your  community which have not been reached prior. Every person exerts “Influence on  Someone”. In general the church becomes a power factor in your

4. With new converts, comes an increase in the MONEY supply.  Dollars to the gospel are like wheels to

a car. To move it on our continent today costs a great deal. Caution  should be taken concerning proper stewardship of finances. Dollars rightly  spent for the church can be a powerful key to revival in your city and in your world.

5. The above list culminates in the real goal of a growing church. “Exposure”. This thing was not done in a corner. The United Pentecostal Church in your city should be on its way to becoming the most prominent church in town. This can be done through Advertisement, Radio, Newspaper, Billboards, and Door to Door. The Pastor’s voice and picture should be as known in your city as the Mayor’s. The Gospel was desiged to be the focal point of all Humanity. Let us begin to make it so and double the size 0@ our church.

To think of doubling, note these important factors. 1. Where are you? 2. What do you have to work with? 3. What do you need to acquire? 4. How are you going to reach and convert these people?

In 1975, I came to the Riverside Apostolic Church in Morgantown, West Virginia. In January of 1975 the Sunday School average attendance was 175. On February the l5th, I assumed pastorate of the church. What did I find there?

1. A 42 year old church building that had never been painted.

2. A sanctuary that would seat 238 people.

3. A small Pastors’ study, eight classrooms, and a Sunday School office.

4. One church van, one operating bus, and one in the garage.

5. Off street parking for 12 cars.

6. Eleven Sunday School teachers and two Superintendents and one Sunday School secretary.

7. $1100.00 in the bank.

The very first order of business was setting some goals for the church. In the next ten years what would we like to see happen in Morgantown? Since numbers are a good thermometer of a church, I thought a good figure of average attendance was 750 in Sunday School.

What would it take to have 750 in Sunday School every Sunday at the Riverside Apostolic Church? Here is wh%t the average Sunday School attendance curve immediately said to me.

Fifty percent of the crowd would be adults, fifteen percent of the attendance would be teens, twenty-two percent would be children attending from birth up through the age of twelve years, ten percent would be teachers, three percent would be the office and Superintendent staff.

What would that look like in numbers to me?

50% Adults 375
15% Teens 117
22% 0-12 170
10% Teachers 75
3% Staff 13

Total 750

With this attendance what would the physical needs of the church be? In ten years the sanctuary for Sunday morning must seat at least four-hundred people. The educational building would need twenty-five
classrooms large enough to seat fifteen people comfortably. We would need six offices.

We would also need a Sunday School teachers training program that would qualify seven teachers to the sta@f each year.

If 60% of our crowd drove in, I would need parking space for 225 cars. If our bus ministry grew then we would need space for 10 buses to carry 40% of the attendance to church.

A car takes 400 sq. feet to park and turn, a bus needs 1000 sq. feet to park and turn. In ten years the church would need 2@ acres of parking.

At that present time, the church had 3@ 30 x 90 lots, covered with grass and a big tree that the Sunday School classes had shared for special Sundays for 42 years.


After sane phone calling, I realized less than 1% of our city knew where the church was located. To be quite honest our neighbors did not want the city to know because they did not like their driveways blocked.

What could we do to start the ball rolling for revival and growth? Our primary business was to shock the present congregation into realizing what they re2lly could do. I had to find a way to excite the people into an attitude of self respect for themselves, their church and their place in the community.

Easter, Christianity’s great day of proof about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, was just five and one-half weeks away. Nothing happens without starting. We painted that church house inside and out! Outside, we did major surgery on the grass covered lots. We graded off the grass, graveled the parking lot, and cut down the picnic tree. Immediately things looked better and the neighbors loved it all, including the available parking for 50 cars. In the midst of our work we focused in on an immediate goal, (500) five-hundred in Sunday School by Easter. In 1957, twenty-two years earlier, there had been a record attendance set of (454) four- hundred fifty-four present. I felt like I had to conquer that “we can never do it again”syndrome. There hadbeen

church trouble, the Pastor had died and the church had been through problems which had killed its’ initiative. The question was, “How can we rekindle the embers of enthusiasm?” Our city is the home of West Virginia University. A great deal of activity in Morgantown is around the school. Because of
familiarity of that institution we decided to use the mascot colors of the school for a Sunday School campaign theme. The Blue and Gold attendance drive.

We split the alphabet down the middle, A – gold, B – ..@ @t .4, blue, C – gold, D – blue, etc. and formed two teams in the 4@- ,1 I church. We told them to bring people to Sunday Schoal iqd.@ ,G -@@ between now and Easter (four Sundays) for points. Your team v@@,- – earns five (5) points for every person who has not attended the Sunday School for six (6) weeks. Your team also earns ten (10) points for every brand new person that has never been to the Riverside Sunday School. The person you bring becomes a member of your team regardless of their last name and every Sunday you bring them back they earn the same amount of points again for you and your team, plus all they can bring. The incentive was simple. The team that gathered the largest number of points would be served at our annual Sunday School picnic by the losing team.


Putting some fun in the battle against sin, the Riverside Apostolic Church went to work.

Sunday #1 225 The Gold team ahead!
Sunday #2 264 The Blue team caught up!
Sunday #3 308 I cried when we broke the 300 barrier!

The next week I was determined to change the percentage of the city  that knew where the church was located. I bought newspaper ads, I developed a  radio spot announcement format (which we still use) and announced to  Morgantown that the Riverside Apostolic Church was the same “old time  Religion” except that it was bigger and better. We invited them to church  Easter morning at 10:00 a.m.

Easter morning came, the church was shocked, the Blue team won.  However, the Gold team won as well because there were 519 present!! That  settled it! We could do anything that we wanted to do by just setting our  mind to do it. Because of the phenomenal surge, Sunday night response was great  also. In almost no time the sanctuary was FULL!!

Because of immediate surging growth, three things were needed to ride this wave of Revival, (1) Bur@ the uglinessof yesterday (2) Saturate Morgantown (3) Make room so asnot to discourage the increase.

1. In burying the past, we saw it necessary to help this congregation to forget some things of the non-progressive era. We painted the Sanctuary again. We covered an old but pretty wooden wainscoat with a
modernbrick paneling. We tore out the old platform and remodeled the choir loft completely. The P.A. system was updated and the controls were moved to the back so the sound engineer could have ample control to make it comfortable  for the listener. By July 10, we had an air-conditioned sanctuary, new
carpeting, and a fresh look for the old building. In almost no time the church had raised and spent $20,000.00 on a major interior facelift. The new look  brought with it a new enthusiasm.

2. By spring of 1976 we were ready to saturate our city and let everyone in the greater Morgantown area
know that the Riverside Apostolic Church cared about them. Bro. James Lashley  came to us from Peoria, Illinois, with a door knocking campaign called, “The Battle of the Champions”. The goal of  the program was to knock every door in the area in the next ten weeks, using  2 hours every Saturday. The incentive of the program was that the first ten couples who knocked 300 doors would receive a trophy.

At the end of the 10 weeks the one which had knocked the most doors received a  championship size trophy. Greater Morgantown has over 50,000 people and in  eight weeks every door was knocked. Following the door knocking campaign we  divided into our second annual Blue-Gold drive. We also used the radio  announcements and produced an in-church attendance on Easter morning of 654.  Now our problem had changed, we were out of room.

3. The fall of 1976 we rented an apartment next door to the church and used that for Sunday School classrooms. Two blocks away we  found an old store building. We spent probably $25,000.00 to put folding  partitions and started having our Primary classes there. It was now evident  that Riverside Apostolic in no way could remain in the confines of its present  42 year home. A building fund began for what would be its new home and  $33,000.00 was generated in six months. We passed up two buildings, a Theatre  and a 14 acre tract of land. In April of 1977 we found a piece of property 25  acres at the Westover Exit of I-79 for $100,000.00. (We also had 633 on Easter of that year.) The purchase of this property was a miracle within itself.  Never-the-less, it was ours by September of 1977 and we began clearing the trees in January of 1978. Where did we get the money? Let’s review the  growth process.

#1. People
#2. People produce talent
#3. Talent produces influence
#4. Influence produces money W5. Money produces exposure.

Many churches attempt to skip #1,#2, #3 and take peanut brittle, yard sales, rummage or whatever and expose the Gospel. To have a Gospel without people is like having a boat without water. The People are the key to reaching our orld. February 1978 was the month we discovered at Riverside the opportunities of “Enroll toGrow.”

In the fall of 1977, I was visiting my cousin, Brother Robert Hall, in Chesapeake, Virginia. He introduced me to a book and two pieces of literature. The book had stimulated Brother Ron Turner of Roanoke, Virginia, and him to produce the two pieces of literature. The book was “Where Action Is” by E. S. “Andy”Anderson. I took thebook home, read the first couple of chapters, and disagreed with it.

I disagreed with the book because an idea and theory was projected that made me say, “Well it might be so in the Southern Baptist Convention but that would never work in a United Pentecostal Church Sunday School.” Here is that theoretical equation. “The Sunday School average attendance equals approximately one half of the total enrollment.”

I laid the book aside only to have my curiosity get the best of me. I called our educational director, Brother Bill Dulin, and asked  for the total Sunday School enrollment for

February, 1978. The enrollment was 634 and the average attendance for that  month was 316. When I saw the accuracy of the theory or now fact of Mr.  Anderson’s book, I was ready to reconsider the remaining content, because just maybe, it would work in a United Pentecostal Church too.

A brief summary of the book would be this. The more you enroll in  Sunday School, the larger the average attendance becomes. To make the thought  of enrolling people in Sunday School more daring, Mr. Anderson recommended  that the older idea, that a person must attend for at least three consecutive
Sundays before he can become a member of the school, be forgotten. Instead, he gave the four A’s of enrollment: Anybody, Anywhere, Anyt@n@, if they will  only Agree to beeome a me@@er of the S@nday School. The emphasis is on Sunday  School because it takes the Miracle of Complete Salvation to become a member of the”Church”. Now onehalf of the new enrollees will probably start attending  because they have committed themselves to a right motive.

We decided to test the idea. In March of 1978, we went to a town 26 miles away. With a canvassing team from the bus ministry of the  iverside Apostolic Church, we went from door to door and enrolled over 200
people in a Sunday School 26 miles from where they lived. The results showed  up quickly. We began a 52 mile round trip bus route which carried 102 adults  and children to church on Sunday morning.

In the following year 58 of those people were baptized into Jesus Christ and 52 received the Holy Ghost. That town now has a United Pentecostal Church and  is winning and baptizing souls on their own. Before we stopped the bus route  and began the new church there, the Riverside Apostolic Sunday School average
jumped to 486. Now we knew the idea worked for the Pentecostals so we decided  to build a program custommade for the Riverside Apostolic Church and  Morgantown, West Virginia.

Mr. Anderson recommended a revival be conducted. The revival was not  to be the normal singing, preaching arrangement but rather a door knocking  neighborhood and city canvassing campaign. The goal of this revival was to see  how many new families that could be enrolled in Sunday School right on their front door steps.

A “Pilot Committee” was chosen from the knowledgeable leaders of the  church. A postmaster, a yellow pages district manager, a life insurance  salesman, our educational director and myself were chosen. With the idea of  “Enroll To Grow”the Harvest Revival was developed for Riverside.

It was decided which four sections of the city would be covered in  five nights, what approach the door knockers would use at the door, who the  door knocker team captains would be, the children’s church leader, the nursery  keepers, the prayer leaders, the secretaries, and who would be the members of
the follow-up teams. Several new pieces of literature were developed along  with a schedule of events.

After some consideration, two ideal times were chosen to conduct such  a revival, late May or early Septe@@er. The reasoning for this time of year  was quite simple. School is still in session so the families would be at home  in the evenings and not away on vacation. In most parts of the country  daylight savings time would be in effect and all of the ladies could  participate without fear of being on the streets after dark. The third reason  was that the weather is usually warm at this time so it would be comfortable  to be going door to door enrolling families.

The next item on the schedule was to conduct a special service to  convey the enthusiasm of the committee to the whole church. In times past, I had learned that any project which involves an entire congregation has no  choice but to be a success. On the second Sunday night of September,  evangelism and soul winning became th@ theme of the entire service. For three  weeks it had been announced that a special soul winning revival was going to  be conducted and this was a Sunday night that no one wanted to miss.

The choir began the service singing “Win the Lost at any  “‘ The song leader led the congregation in “Throw out the cost Life Line” and “Send the Light”. All of the personnel who had agreed to work  this week was introduced, the Co-ordinator, Secretaries, Team Captains, Follow up Teams, Nursery Personnel, Children’s Church Leaders and the Prayer  Leader.

The idea of the program was presented to the audience on the overhead  projector to illustrate what the possibilities were with such a revival. What  happens at any church, of course, will vary with what it has to work with. The  Riverside Sunday Evening audience is about 300 people. If 1/3 of those were  willing to knock doors we would have 100 door-knockers. If we send them in pairs we could have 50 couples knocking doors.

If they would knock 10 doors an evening we could contact 2500 homes. If just  10% responded we would see 250 new members in the Riverside Apostolic Sunday  School.

To eliminate fear as to what to say, an outline of a door knocker’s  conversation was passed out to the entire congregation. After the introduction of the Staff, an a@counter with the world at its’ front door was demonstrated by members of the Pilot Committee. To reduce fear further, it was emphasized  that the


door knocker was not at the front door to preach, debate, or give an altar  call. They were to go out to: 1. Find out if they attended church 2. Show the  benefits of being a member of our Sunday School 3. Enroll them, if they  agreed, by taking their name, address and names and ages of everyone living in  that home. The conversation at the door would go like this.

1. Hello

2. I am ——- of the Riverside Apostolic Church on Dents  Run Boulevard off the Westover Exit of I-79, do you know where that is? rf you don’t mind could I have a few minutes ofyour time? (Hand them the
“Door of Opportunity” brochure.)

3. We are visiting everyone in greater Morgantown and taking  a church attendance survey. Are you a member of a Sunday School in  Morgantown? (If “Yes”, ask “Do you attend regularly?” If “Yes”, – “Well, you
are always welcome at Riverside.”) (They will respond) Thank you for speaking  with me – Goodbye.

4. If they say NO to #3…

Let me show you some benefits of being a member of the Riverside  Apostolic Sunday School! (Take the Brochure back and go over the benefits)

1. A Minister ready and willing to serve you.

2. Assistance with weddings, special occasions, funerals  or religious events.

3. An established church where you may worship and engage  in religious activities.

4. Recognized social status by the acknowledgment that  you attend church.

5. The contentment of mind in knowing you have spiritual  ties with your church.

6. The satisfaction of heart in knowing you have made a  step in the right direction.

7. A church related family to pray for you and your  needs.

8. Christian friends who will be glad to respond to  assist you.

9. Spiritual advice.

10. Personal counseling. l’s

11. A monthly newsletter  keeping you aware of your chur; activities.

5. Does that interest you?

6. Could I enroll you and your family into the Riverside  Apostolic Sunday School?

7. Get name, address, names of children and ages.

8. Now in the next couple of weeks we will be sending you  a get-acquainted packet from the Sunday School – either by mail or in person.

Thank you for speaking with me and I’II see you some Sunday in church. (If at any time you get a cold refusal use this–Well, we wan= you to know you  are always welcome. Thank you foryour time. Goodbye.)

With that accomplished they would tell new members a couple from the church would be back tomorrow night to bring them a “Get AcquaintedPacket”about their new Sunday School Home. They bid farewell and are on to the next door.

After the demonstration, the choir sang, “Oh Calvary, Calvary, Please won’t you speak to me” and I preached a simple message stating that we were involved in the “Last Harvestime”. At the end of the sermon an altar call was given first for the door knockers and second for Prayer Warriors while the
choir sang for the invitation’@my delight 136 door knockers volunteered and 60 Prayer Warriors came forward declaring they would meet at the church every evening that week and pray for 2 hours while the door knockers were on the street. The names of the canvassers were divided into four teams. The prayer warriors were instructed to be at the church at 6:45 P.M. the following night.

When they all arrived the next evening, there was a place for everyone. The church was involved from the nursery ages through the silver haired Prayer Warriors. It might please you to know that several of the
children received the Holy Ghost in Children’s Church and a stranger came in during one of the prayer meetings and also received the Holy Ghost.

The team captains had chosen the streets and homes each couple was to knock that night. After a brief prayer, two tracts “The Door Dpener” and “You Are Invited” and enrollment cards were distributed and the team captains loaded their teams on vans and took them to their assigned areas for that night.

Doors were knocked and the teams returned about 9:10 P.M. The team captains turned in their results to the Co-ordinator who put the evenings totals on a score board. He gave the cards to the Secretaries who prepared the “Get Acquainted Packets” for the follow-up teams work the next evening.

The Packet contained a Sunday School membership certificate, a brochure about the church, and the tract “Why You Should Attend Sunday School”.

The Co-ordinator had everyone’s material ready for the next evening and closed the office for the first 2 hours work. The results were good, 41 homes were enrolled totaling 152 persons as new members in the Sunday School.

The next evening everyone repeated their duties and the Follow-up teams went out to deliver the New Members their “Get Acquainted Packet”.


The first home I went to as a follow-up, no one was home. As my team partner and I turned to go back to our car, a young mother, carrying her child, came across the street waving her hand saying “Don’t leave yet, I’ve been watching all evening for you”. Stepping inside their home we showed them their membership certificate, New Church Brochure and introduced the tract “Why You 9hould Attend Sunday School”.

It was understood by all follow-up teams that we would not try to preach or cram the gospel on the new
enrollee but only attempt to get a co@mlittment that they would be in Sunday School soon.


First Follow-Up:

1. Mr. and Mrs. John Jenkins, my name is Fred Brown and  this is Jack Jorden. We’re members of the Riverside Apostolic Church. On Monday a couple from our church stopped by to visit with you concerning our Sunday School Enrollment Campaign.

2. We want to thank you for your interest, may we come in? Mr. and Mrs.  Jenkins, we want to congratulate you on your wise decision. Jack and I would like to present to you at this time your personal Enrollment Certificate. This hereby entitles you and Mrs. Jenkins to the following: (Refer to Certificate of Enrollment

After Certificate:
3. Say: which brings me to why you should attend Sunday School: Start thru Tract…..

4. Go from tract to Church brochure, unfold tract and display brochure.

I am glad that you see that Sunday School is such an important part of your familys’ life. Could we pray?

Prayer: “Dear God, Here is a home that is concerned about tomorrow. We ask that you come close, Oh God,
and touch this household. This Mother and Dad cannot the thoughts of their children being lost and missing Heaven. Thank  you God for allowing them to take these wise steps of direction to  guide and pilot them toward an eternity with you. Help this Church to meet their needs in Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.”

After displaying the packet, contained in a 9 x 12 manilla envelope, and praying a short prayer, we excused ourselves. One new member repented right in the living room and on the Sunday following was one of seven baptized and 5 who received the Holy Ghost.

By the end of the week, 119 families had been enrolled, totaling 435 people. To the date of this writing over 260 of those have attended church and 115 have been baptized and received the Holy Ghost. The Sunday School average has increased over 200.

The results of our Harvest Revivals are most impressive. This program will start churches, bus routes, open doors for “Search For Truth” and increase Sunday School adult memberships substantially. This program is a sickle in the hands of the reapers.

Two years have passed since our last Enroll-to-Grow program. We are working on the prospects of our previous enrollment drives by:

a. Calling each member enrolled in our Sunday School.

b. Visiting each one who had no phone.

c. Mailing two letters to each individual six weeks prior to Easter Sunday.

We came up with the following results:

637 in Adult Class
364 in the Youth Department
258 on our buses
1001 total attendance Easter, 1983

The average attendance for April 1983 was 657.

If in the next year the 3,300 United Pentecostal Churches of North merica would enroll just 500 new members, our total enrollment would be 1,650,000. This would assure us of an increase of over 7,650,000 new people attending our churches on a regular basis.

In the decade of the eighties we would see the United Pentecostal Church grow by 12,240,000 if the above pattern was adhered to without starting a single church. We have the potential. Let’s exploit this possibility.

America needs Revival – a glorious, wonderful, exciting, Jesus Name, God-loving, sin-@ating Revival in the Sunday School, Bible Study, Youth Service and Sunday night services of our United Pentecostal Church. We owe this generationan introduction to Jesus Christ.