Sunday School is an old program that is out of date and has many holes. It requires space for classrooms and teacher training and plans and development. It can be hard to staff, hard to manage, and hard to find space. You should absolutely find a way to tackle these issues and have a Sunday School program. Many churches are moving to small group programs, and by all means have small groups, but don’t give up on Sunday School.
Here is why.
1. Sunday School is for the family. Sunday School should be age graded and ideally use a family oriented curriculum. This means that every class is talking about a similar theme or topic. This gives parents the opportunity to discuss the topic with their children, even through different ages and classes. There should be a class for every age and stage in life, giving everyone in the family a class. I have asked many Pastors and Small Group leaders in churches with great small groups what to do with kids Sunday School. In all the answers, I have seen one trend. Small Group is often (not always) for adults. Sunday School is for everyone, and it disciples babies (yes, they have material) through adults.
2. Sunday School is at the right time. Most people in the US still associate Church with Sunday mornings. They think about that as the time frame for church and often have it open to attend. The people at your church who are not in Sunday School is your first area of enlistment. You can build a solid program with who you have. Then, believe it or not, Sunday School is a good, solid place to bring and invite people too. That is because of point #3.
3. Sunday School is (or should be) open group. This means that this weeks Sunday School lesson stands alone, it doesn’t require you too have been here last week. Many Small Group Bible Studies build on the lessons week to week. You use information from last week in this weeks lesson. That is awesome and needs to happen for good discipleship, but it should happen in Sunday School. You want someone who walks into your church for the first time to feel like they fit in the class they attend. The open group setting is a perfect place to invite people, to connect with people and grow and learn.
4. Sunday School reaches beyond Sunday Morning. The most effective classes have fellowships and activities, missions and outreach. They support each other, enjoy one another and work beside each other. The smaller group that is age graded is effective for this type of activity. Preschoolers can learn about the local food bank on a field trip, High School class can do a food drive, and the adults can volunteer at the food bank. Groups can have Christmas parties and summer BBQs. These are fun, and give a great place to invite people to connect. People are drawn to these activities and want to be part of a group that is changing the world.
5. Sunday School has possibilities. Don’t be limited by space, be creative. Find the unused space. College and Career classes and adult classes who are empty nesters can meet in a nearby coffee shop or a home. Use all the space you have, get your money’s worth out of every square foot of your building. Have classes in the kitchen, in the hall way. I once offered to teach a men’s class in the men’s restroom. Make the space, make it happen.
6. there are great resources. You probably know that LifeWay was once known as The Sunday School Board. LifeWay offers much more than Sunday School material, but they have excellent material, that is their foundation. David Francis has written great material on how to do amazing things through Sunday School. Josh Hunt has some great resources to grow your church through Sunday School and how to have a powerful Sunday School. There are so many great books and materials, trainings and helps, it’s a ministry with 100+ years of backing.
If this hasn’t convinced you to do Sunday School, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you develop a comprehensive Sunday School plan to help your church grow and reach people. It’s a powerful ministry and too important to ignore.