Sunday School. Its origins can be traced to England in the 1600’s. You can find Sunday School societies and their missionaries planting Sunday Schools in the early days of the colonization of our country. You can also see Sunday School expanding West as the country was settled. Sunday School has been around a few hundred years.
You might want to cancel it, IF…
- You can involve more people in Bible study some other way. In my experience, many Sunday Schools average within a few percentage points of those people involved in worship. Other Bible study systems often involve only 30-40% of the people in worship, compared to Sunday Schools that involve 70-85%+ of the people in worship.
- You have a better plan for doing foundational discipleship for people of all ages. Sunday School provides groups for all kinds of people. In these groups, people experience age-appropriate Bible study.
- You are starting plenty of new groups in a different Bible study system. Sunday School groups are designed to grow and multiply. Call it “splitting a group, birthing a group, franchising a group,” or some other term – the goal of Sunday School is to start new groups and reach new people. This is why we refer to Sunday School as an “open group” ministry – it expects new people to be present weekly.
- You have reached all the people in your ministry sphere. The mission of Sunday School is to reach all the people in a church’s ministry sphere. If you’ve done that and saturated your community and there is no one left to reach, then check that box and invest your time and energy into discipling those people.
- You have a more dynamic plan for evangelizing men, women, boys, and girls. Sunday School’s primary mission is to make disciples. That starts with evangelism. Sharing Christ with people of all ages is done in age appropriate ways through Sunday School groups.
- You are willing to see 85%+ of your newest members disappear by their fifth year of membership. Dr. Thom Rainer’s research has demonstrated that people in groups stick with church. In fact, if people join the church but not a group, you can’t find over 85% of them by year five.
- You want less volunteers, less people praying, and less people serving. The research for the book Transformational Groups revealed that people in groups gave more, served more, and prayed more than those not in a group.
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