Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Sunday School Still Works

  • Jim Townsley
  • Feb 17, 2016
The idea of a “Sunday school” for poor and uneducated children began in England in the late 18th century. Robert Raikes envisioned gathering poor, uneducated working children into education classes on Sundays. By the early 1800’s, the goals of the Sunday schools were the conversion of children. Within the next 100 years the Sunday school became the primary outreach arm of the church. The Sunday school became the main means of church growth and Christian education.
At one time the Sunday school attendance was larger than the morning church service. However, over the last six decades Sunday school attendance has been in a steep decline. Churches that once boasted of hundreds and even thousands of attendees have experienced a continual deterioration of attendance. People’s attitude toward Sunday school has been changing resulting in many churches abandoning this outreach entirely. Has this great outreach served its usefulness? 
I recognize that public sentiment toward the Sunday school has changed and that there are unique challenges to maintain the past enthusiasm for it, but it remains a powerful and effective ministry to reach and train children and adults. A failure to promote and build a strong Sunday school program will result in a dumbing down of members and ultimately result in a shallow Christian experience. There is no greater tool available to the church to train young people and new converts than the Sunday school. Without a Sunday school imagine the biblical ignorance of the next generation.
Consider the powerful effect of the Sunday school:
  1. From the cradle to high school graduation, through a graded curriculum, a faithful student will have gone through the Bible three times. 
  2. The gospel will have been presented scores of times.
  3. Christian morals and values will be taught.
  4. Bible knowledge will be increased.
  5. Spiritual growth can occur.
  6. Lasting spiritual relationships are built. 
  7. People have an opportunity to serve.
  8. The whole family can come and learn at their own level.
Keeping the Sunday school exciting and interesting is a challenge but it is worth the effort. Rather than giving up on Sunday school as outdated why not make it better? It can become boring and uninteresting, but it should not be so. Every new church should work hard to make Sunday school a time of great anticipation for families. Motivate your teachers and if you are the only teacher get fired up about it so that your enthusiasm will be transferred to everyone else. The morning service is an important time to promote the blessings of the Sunday school. Plan an exciting campaign that will generate interest.
Churches must remember that they are competing with baseball, entertainment, and community activities. Start your Sunday school the first day of the new church and begin to emphasize its importance from the first day. People will get excited about what you get excited about.
The task of the church is to fulfill the great commission and the Sunday school is a great tool to help accomplish it. Don’t give up on the Sunday school, make it a place where families want to attend and where they are taught the Word of God. Sunday school is still a great ministry that will help every church fulfill the great commission.