by Jeff Jenkins
Has there ever been a bigger waste than Sunday school?” That was the question raised by one of the guys recently on a sports talk show. The discussion started with how there is, in their opinion, “way to much sports information in the world.” The participants were talking about how much they missed the old days when you got Cowboys news only a couple of times a week and how you could watch the Tom Landry Show every Sunday.
One of the guys talked about how he hated church because it often made him miss that show. And he especially hated Sunday school. Then the men involved began to discuss all of the many reasons they hated Sunday school and why, in their words, “It was such a beating.”
So, I begin thinking. Is Sunday school a waste? It appears that many Christians might agree with what the sports guys had to say. Many Christians choose to never attend Sunday school because it is too early, too long, too boring, or they just don’t want to take the time to be there.
It is possible that a church can de-emphasize Sunday school by not putting any emphasis on it. When we do not provide quality Bible classes with teachers who show up on time and prepared we may be saying with our actions that Sunday School is a waste.
If we spend our time talking about current events, bashing other churches that we happen to disagree with in matters of opinion, and a general failure to teach the Word of God we may be saying that Sunday school is a waste.
When we put little time and effort in making children’s classrooms conducive to learning with joy we may be saying that Sunday school is a waste. When teachers give warmed over lessons and do not make the study of the Word interesting we may be saying that Sunday school is a waste.
The great Ira North was credited with saying, “As the Sunday school goes, so goes the congregation!” He used it often but he said he got it from brother C.J. Garner who was a part of the staff at Madison. Brother North felt so strongly about the Sunday school that he dedicated his book, “Balance,” to his wife and to all those who attended “Sunday morning Bible school at the Madison church of Christ.”
With this attitude about Sunday school, the work of many, and the help of God the Madison church grew to more than 5,000 members and on several occasions they had more than 8,000 in attendance at Sunday school! One could argue that in the minds of millions of people around the world Sunday school is not a waste.
There are some steps we can take as a church and as individual Christians to make sure that Sunday school does not become a waste. All of us can help make Sunday school a life-changing event every time we come together.
(1) Understand why Sunday school is important. It is important because much of our spiritual growth depends largely on our knowledge of God’s Word (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). When Christians grow spiritually the church can grow in every way. Another reason Sunday school is so important is because it gives Christians a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with one another and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24).
(2) Promote Sunday school attendance. Every Christian can encourage others to attend Sunday school by attending themselves. Do you attend Sunday school? Do you think it is important? If you are not attending now you may be saying by your absence, that Sunday school is a waste. Parents should see that their children are in Sunday school and that they attend as well. Elders and preachers should spend more time “talking up” the need for each member to attend Sunday school.
(3) We should provide our Sunday school teachers with every resource available to teach their classes. Why not make the latest technology available to those who teach our children? If children attend schools where they use the most current technology possible, then come to Sunday school and we offer old, tired methods will they come to believe that Sunday school is important to us?
I know that in many cases we may not be able to afford the most up to date technology. If that is the case we should still put whatever resources we can into showing our children how important we believe Sunday school really is.
In addition to this, we should provide opportunities for our teachers to grow in their knowledge of God’s Word. We could host teacher-training workshops or send our teachers to places where there are workshops.
If God’s people have a strong desire to grow in our faith, if we want to build up one another, and if we want to strengthen the church we will work hard to show the world that Sunday school is not a waste. Why not make a special effort to be in Sunday school this week? Your presence can help ensure that it will not be a waste.
Dear Father, help us to see the importance of Sunday school in our own lives and in the life of the church. Help us to show our children and those around us that it is vital for us to grow in our knowledge of Your Word. Dear God, help us to show them that one way we can accomplish this is through an outstanding Sunday school program. Help us to teach as many people as possible about Christ. In Jesus Name, Amen.