In the 1960s, the term Sunday School could refer to the building and, on rare occasions, to education classes. By the 1970s, even the largest Sunday school had been demolished. The current phrase refers mainly to catechism classes for children and adults that take place before the start of a religious service. Among all the non-Baptist churches I visited, most felt fortunate to have two or three small group Bible studies for adults that met all year or part of the year.
The idea of a large-scale Sunday school program for all ages was unimaginable to them. However, for us and for many other traditional Baptist churches like us, it was still working. Wade Kuhlewind for his class lecture, “Is Sunday School Old School”, from which part of this material was derived. He has taught Sunday schools for adults for most of the past 35 years and still teaches intergenerational classes today.
After that, reading and writing were learned Monday through Friday in school and the Sunday school curriculum was limited to religious education. That is the line in which Childress suggested that, among the four indicators of churches that will successfully navigate a post-pandemic world, is “an infrastructure for the community based on anything other than the traditional Sunday school model.” Although they sometimes use ideas published in the curriculum, their decision to abandon the traditional Sunday school style and adopt a more church-like style for children was a factor that influenced their decision to create their own program. So how far have we come? Do we continue to give our children “chalk and talking” Bible lessons, or do Sunday school styles and methods reflect recent educational changes? The concept of Sunday school spread from the British Isles to the European continent, infecting Christians with a passion and affecting those who had not been reached with the Gospel. The teaching schedule follows the school year, and holiday Bible (or religious) schools are held for one or two weeks during the summer.
Although religious education of various types was previously known in Christianity, the beginning of modern Sunday school dates back to the work of Robert Raikes (1736-1781), editor of newspapers from Gloucester, Eng. However, in Europe, since religious teaching was normally taught in regular schools, Sunday schools were not as important as they were in the United States, where separation from the church and the state prohibited religious teaching in public schools. So here comes the artillery: a barrage of questions, statements and aphorisms that will help you think about Sunday School. It's understandable that John Holmes is satisfied with these numbers, considering that Sunday School is less than a quarter of this size.
Sunday school teachers are usually women, especially if the church doesn't allow women to preach or perform primary leadership roles in the church. And somehow, that feeling must be true in all churches, depending on whether they have Sunday school or life groups or whatever. Even some Marxist historians have attributed the empowerment of the working classes to Sunday schools in the 19th century.