Summary: Sunday school is facing serious problems in the 21st Century.
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL CHALLENGE
Sunday School is facing serious problems while at the same time there is great potential as she enters the 21st Century.
B. PROBLEMS IN SUNDAY SCHOOL
1. Many denominations are struggling with attendance.
2. Publishing houses see a decline in unit sales (of student manuals) but the financial bottom line is not necessarily declining because of inflation, sale of accessories and other material.
3. Regular attendance is declining among regular members. The most faithful attenders are not as regular in attendance as in the past.
4. Some Sunday School leaders are ready to "give up" on Sunday School and are searching for other methods or programs - turning to cells, home Bible study, etc.
C. FIVE MAJOR PROBLEMS WITHIN THE SUNDAY SCHOOL
1. The attendance problems.
2. The recruitment problem. It’s hard to get people to volunteer to teach in Sunday School.
3. The facilities problem. Many Sunday School classes meet in rooms that are too big, too little, too old or too depressing.
4. The money problem. Most Sunday School workers do not have the funds to do the necessary things required of them.
5. The resource problem. Many Sunday School teachers do not have resources to adequately teach, such as pupil manuals, VCRs, chalkboards, overheads, age-graded furniture, etc.
6. The solution is always leadership. Good leaders will go get pupils, go recruit teachers, build the right facilities, raise the money and buy the resources.
Things and money may be the problem, but God’s people solve problems.
D. FOUR QUESTIONS WE MUST ANSWER
1. What is a Sunday School? To fix the Sunday School, we must know the Sunday School. Sunday School is the
a. Reaching arm of the church.
b. Teaching arm of the church.
c. Soul-winning arm of the church.
d. Caring arm of the church.
"Gather the people together, men, women, children, and thy stranger which is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law" (Deut. 31:12).
2. Who shall lead the Sunday School?
a. Sunday School teachers must be more than teachers, they must be three things:
(1) Lead pupils by example.
(2) Feed the Bible by instruction.
(3) Look after students by watchcare.
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the (Sunday School) flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock . . . therefore watch" (Acts 20:28-31).
b. The Sunday School teacher is the extension of pastoral ministry into the life of the class. Everything the pastor is to the larger flock, the teacher is to the Sunday School flock.
3. Shall we give up on Sunday School?
a. The home cell groups have many advantages and make great contribution in evangelism, involvement and informality. But, they usually are not built on a complete, comprehensive coverage of the Bible. Statistics show the average person only attends a cell or home Bible study for 22 months, whereas Sunday School aims at a permanent bond.
b. Some want to substitute Bible exposition from the pulpit. While pulpit teaching makes a great contribution, it doesn’t have all the advantages of being involved in a Sunday School class.
c. The trickle down effect. If denominational leaders give up, so will pastors. If pastors give up, so will Sunday School leaders. If Sunday School leaders give up, so will Sunday School teachers. If Sunday School teachers give up, so will their pupils.
4. What shall be the results if we give up on Sunday School?
a. Our people will not know the Bible.
b. Our churches will not be biblically strong.
c. Our ability to influence culture and society will evaporate.
d. If we give up on Sunday School, the American church will follow the example of the English church. The American church will no longer be able to influence society, just as the English church that gave up on Sunday School. If we give up on Sunday School the American church has little influence over its society.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.