The Sunday School has been part of the Christian culture since it's inception in the 1780's. The online version of Christian history has an interesting article about the history of the Sunday School. Originally, it began as a literacy and religious education movement. The article points out that there were good reasons for this institution and why it became so popular with parents and children.
I wonder if in the 21st century, we are witnessing the death of the Sunday School. In many churches, the attendance is not what it was in the 60's and 70's. For some, what once was a tool to advance literacy and Christian education (and even doctrinal knowledge via chatechistical instruction), now is a forum to teach Bible stories with a moralistic interpretation, or as a tool for evangelism. Sadly, some continue to prop up a Sunday School program for no other reason than it is something that has always been done.
If Sunday School is to continue and to be a viable program (and one could argue that maybe it has outlived its usefulness - but that's a discussion for another day), the we need to ask ourselves some pertinent questions:
- Why do we have Sunday School?
- What do we want to accomplish in Sunday School?
- What is expected from those who teach in the Sunday School?
- If there are good and sound reasons to have a Sunday School program, then where is it among the priorities of the church and what resources will be committed to it?
Read the article linked above and share your thoughts.