Does Sunday School Still Exist? An Expert's Perspective

In the 1960s, the term Sunday School was used to refer to the building and, on rare occasions, to education classes. By the 1970s, even the largest Sunday school had been demolished. Nowadays, the phrase mainly refers to catechism classes for children and adults that take place before the start of a religious service. In non-Baptist churches, there are usually two or three small group Bible studies for adults that meet all year or part of the year.

However, for traditional Baptist churches, a large-scale Sunday school program for all ages is still in place. Wade Kuhlewind has taught Sunday schools for adults for most of the past 35 years and still teaches intergenerational classes today. In the past, reading and writing were learned Monday through Friday in school and the Sunday school curriculum was limited to religious education. 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.”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. 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.

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. Even some Marxist historians have attributed the empowerment of the working classes to Sunday schools in the 19th century. So here comes the artillery: a barrage of questions, statements and aphorisms that will help you think about Sunday School and its relevance today.

Terence Wedgeworth
Terence Wedgeworth

I love the Bible and love sharing God's truth with others! I dream of being a full-time evangelist, but for now it's Bible college and blogging for me. I also teach 4th grade Sunday School at my church. Click here to see my kids Bible lessons.