Spider-man. Star Trek. Alien. Ghostbusters. Baywatch. CHIPs. Each of these movie franchises has been re-branded in the last few years to reach new audiences. Did I mention The Fantastic Four? I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve tried to re-brand that movie franchise! If you think it may be time to put a fresh coat of paint on your church’s Sunday School by calling it something else, let’s make sure you’ve thought through the positives and negatives. It may be the right move for your church. And on the other hand, it may not. Let’s see if we can reason through some of the pros and cons of re-branding your church’s Sunday School.
- Sunday School isn’t 100% about Sunday. Having the word “Sunday” in the title may lead people to believe that Sunday School is about that hour before or after worship when you gather in age-graded classes to study the Bible. That’s unfortunate, because many good Sunday School groups “do life together” outside of the Sunday morning group experience. They fellowship together, pray together, serve together, and minister to one another. These groups have come to believe that Sunday School isn’t just about Sunday. Good for them!
- “School” can be a negative term. Many people associate the word “school” with something difficult, or perhaps boring. It also conjures up images of teachers who lecture, or who are harsh in the way they deal with their students.
- In some denominations, Sunday School is just for the kids. Southern Baptists are not alone in their Sunday School philosophy, but they might be outnumbered. Many churches only offer Sunday School groups for kids and teenagers.
- Sunday School already has “brand identity.” When you say the words “Sunday School,” most people know exactly what you’re talking about. It’s the hour adjacent to the worship service on our calendars.
- People may not accept the new name for it. LIFE Groups, Adult Bible Fellowship groups, Adult Groups, Small Groups, or whatever other name you can come up with may never be accepted by members of your congregation.
- Verbiage changes slowly. I know of churches that changed the name of Sunday School years ago, yet the majority of their members still call it “Sunday School.” Don’t underestimate people’s unwillingness to change.
If you and/or your church have changed the name of Sunday School and survived it, I’d love to hear from you. Post your comments and help your fellow brothers and sisters wrestle with the decision to be more culture-shaping and culture-impacting by changing the name of Sunday School. We’d like to hear words of caution, and we’d also like to hear stories of success!
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