A friend of mine was dismayed when
Sunday school teachers at her church proposed a new Sunday school
schedule for fall: classes held weekly except for the third Sunday of
each month, when there would be no structured Sunday school classes.
The teachers and their kids would take a break from the 9 o’clock hour
Sunday school responsibilities and the Sun. school slot would become
childcare with some kind of programming for those parents who need it.
teachers explained that this proposal would provide a break for them,
and that although worship and Sunday school are in separate time slots
(one can do both), the teachers would be able to come to worship
without having any responsibility for Sun. school that morning. It’s a
difficult proposal to oppose, as this is a 250-member congregation with
no paid staff to help with Christian education. The teachers have been
a dedicated and enthusiastic group.
In further discussion, a
disquieting reality became clear to my friend: Christian education for
kids in this church is threatened by all kinds of competition. Here are
some of the comments she heard:
“The kids do baseball all day Saturday. I just need a down day at home sometimes.”
“We can’t always be there [Sundays]. We’re trying to do soccer as well as church.”
nights/Sundays are the only days my kids can stay over with their
grandmother [with a day off of Sun. school]. That’s important time too.”
Smiths don’t attend Sun. school often, but their daughter is very alert
and was the first to know what the Apostle’s Creed was last week.
They’re getting good Christian teaching at home even if they’re not
doing Sun. school.”
“It [Sun. school plus worship] is all just too much to do as a single parent with kids.”
friend, who must soon vote for or against this proposal in a session
meeting, is stumped. “Where do we start in a session discussion of all
of this? How do we raise a vision for Christian education, emphasize a
sense of outreach and compete with societal expectations and choices
that are bearing down on our young parents?”
Is this situation an unusual one? Or is Sunday school slowly, or sometimes with a fell swoop of fatigue, becoming extinct?