What is the Purpose of Sunday School?

It is the basis of biblical teaching, a purpose for Christians to come together, and an opportunity to prepare Christians for baptism. In recent years, however, there has been a transition in which the time traditionally used for Sunday school is used to recruit people for the Sunday worship service. At its core, Sunday school is an arm that helps people of all ages to seek Christ. Evangelism involves spreading the gospel, and reaching out is essentially pre-evangelism, as it allows people to hear the gospel.

This is expressed in the word “gather” in our text. The American Sunday school system was first initiated by Samuel Slater at his textile factories in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in the 1790s. Jacobs developed a system to encourage Sunday school work, and a committee was established to provide the international uniform curriculum, also known as the uniform lesson plan. In 1833, to unify and advance the work of religious education among young people, the Unitarians founded their Sunday School Association, as a junior member of the British and Foreign Unitary Association, with which they finally established offices in Essex Hall, in central London.

The work of Sunday schools in industrial cities was increasingly complemented by irregular schools (charitable benefits for the industrial poor) and, finally, by publicly funded education under the terms of the Elementary Education Act of 1870. In England, they studied Sunday schools and the teaching methods of the Methodists, impressed by the number of students and teachers. Sunday school is a place and a time where God's children learn that they are loved by God and the people of God through warm communion and a welcoming and creative study of the Bible. The role of Sunday schools changed with the Education Act of 1870, which established universal primary education. Sunday schools were first created in the 18th century in England to provide education for working children. In certain Christian traditions, in certain grades, for example, second or eighth grade, Sunday school classes can prepare young people to undergo a rite such as First Communion or Confirmation.

The doctrine of Sunday Sabbatarianism held by many Christian denominations encourages practices such as Sunday school attendance, since it teaches that the entire Day of the Lord should be dedicated to God; therefore, many children and adolescents usually return to church in the late afternoon to go to a youth group before attending an evening worship service. While many Sunday schools focus on providing instruction to children (especially sessions held during service hours), Sunday school classes for adults are also popular and widespread (see the RCIA). In the United States, the American Sunday School Union (based in Philadelphia) was formed for the publication of literature. I would like us to re-analyze this topic and ask people to specifically address SUNDAY SCHOOL instead of general goals and definitions of Children's Ministry. It is important that we understand why we have Sunday school classes and how they can help us grow closer to God.

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.