Here is your plan today: Determine which member of your class has been absent for the longest period of time and call them today. Don't scold them or ask, "Where you been?" Instead, introduce yourself to them (if needed), tell them that you are their Sunday School teacher. Share with the absentee a prayer request from the previous Sunday's class and then ask them if there is anything they would like for you to pray about. If they share anything, ask if you can pray for them right then – over the phone!
What if they aren't home or are not answering the phone? Leave a voice message that you are their Sunday School teacher and that you are calling to check on them. Then, contact another absentee! Keep calling and leaving messages until you actually talk to one of your class's absentees personally!
Contacting absentees is a vital part of your Sunday School ministry. You want your class to have an atmosphere of belonging and acceptance. When a person feels like they belong to a group, they will drive through snow and ice to be there. By praying for their specific needs, you are letting people know that your class is a place of spiritual transformation. You do believe that prayer changes things, don't you!
I am amazed at how following this simple practice of contacting at least one absentee a week with the right message helps the transformation from class to community.