It’s confession time – I like British-style comedy, and I’ve been a fan of the movie “The Holy Grail” for a number of years. The storming of the French castle, the knights who say “Ni,” the three-headed knight who said “We waaaaaant – a shrubery,” the trash collector yelling “Bring out your dead,” and a certain attendant of Sir Lancelot named Concord, shot in the chest by an arrow, yet maintaining, “I’m not quite dead…in fact, I think I’m getting better.” If you haven’t seen the movie, you cannot appreciate the humor in the scenes I’m trying to describe. Let’s focus on the words of the character, Concord, who was “not quite dead.” If you asked me if Sunday School has a fighting chance to survive, I’d tell you a resounding “yes” – it’s not quite dead. Don’t count it out just yet. In fact, in many churches, “it’s getting better.”
The words “Sunday School” cause people to react in different ways. Some people have fond memories of their experiences in Sunday School – a favorite classroom, a beloved teacher, a lesson that really made an impact on them. Other people may have different ideas about Sunday School. They may associate it with boring lessons, or something they were made to endure as children and teens. Sunday School has gotten a bad reputation in some places, and that’s too bad, because Sunday School is an excellent ministry for teaching God’s Word, providing foundational discipleship for people of all ages, assimilating people into the church, and mobilizing people for ministry. And the research proves it! Have you given up on Sunday School? Don’t.
Vibrant Churches Are Using Sunday School
David Francis, Director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources, conducted a survey of the 400 vibrant churches that were surveyed for the book, Simple Church. He was able to gather data on 94% of the vibrant churches (a vibrant church was identified as one that had experienced at least 5% growth for 3 consecutive years). He discovered that 87.5% of those vibrant churches conducted Sunday School adjacent to the worship service on the Sunday morning schedule.
Simple and complex churches utilize Sunday School as a strategy, but HOW they utilize Sunday School differs greatly. Simple churches are using Sunday School strategically, but complex churches are simply putting on a program. David Francis identified several characteristics of simple churches that utilize Sunday School strategically. To read the full article, click here!
The research doesn’t lie. Almost 9 out of 10 vibrant churches have continued to discover the power of Sunday School. It’s often “step 2,” the second thing that churches want members and guests to become involved in after committing to attending worship services. Sunday School is foundational discipleship. Call it what you will – Sunday School, LIFE Groups, Adult Bible Fellowship, GROW classes, or other creative terms that are now in use. Just don’t feel like you’re out of step or that you’ve made a mistake by endorsing Sunday School. Perhaps if Sunday School could talk it might say, “I’m not quite dead…I’m getting better.”