Sunday School: A Place to Begin
Sunday School, it’s a place to begin.
Has the sun set on Sunday school? That was the question USA TODAY asked in an article of the same name in 2015. Simply Google “Sunday school attendance trends” and you will find a depressing number of articles and blogs on the ever-increasing decline of Sunday school. These articles and blogs blame everything: changing cultural values, poor and inept leadership, competition from youth sports leagues, bad curriculum; it’s all there! If we were honest with ourselves, there is probably a little truth in all of it. Rather than attempt another indictment on who or what is to blame, I wonder if we can instead return to the question, “Why do we have Sunday school?”
We have Sunday school because it’s a place to begin! What do I mean? Sunday school is the point of entry or the on-ramp for the church.
Sunday school brings people into the church and begins to teach, often for the first time, who God is and what His Word is and says. Sunday school is the place where we begin Christian Education.
Sunday school is where we first learn about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and how He wants us to live as His followers. Sunday School is the place where we begin Discipleship.
Sunday school is where we first learn how to express our love for God through praying, singing, and reading scripture. Sunday school is the place where we begin to Worship. In fact, I would argue that some of our best, most authentic worship happens when we are singing and dancing without inhibition before the Lord in Sunday school.
Finally, Sunday school is where we first learn how we fit into the fellowship of Believers. Sunday school is the place where we begin to enter into Christian Community.
Other ministries touch some of these aspects, but none do quite like Sunday school. If we continue to experience our current trends, in ten years there will be less than 10,000 people who attend Sunday school in the entire territory. If this happens, I fear that someday very soon we will find ourselves asking the same “whatever happened to…” questions about Sunday school we are now asking about the Salvation Meeting.
Sunday school isn’t the miracle solution to growing perfect saints, but it is a place to start.
–Major Philip Lloyd