Families Belong In Sunday School
By Rodney L. Pry, P.S.S.S.A. Executive Director
Have you seen any of these things happen in your community?
Situation #1 – A little girl would like to go to Sunday school. Many of her friends go. But her parents sleep in late on Sunday morning so she has no one to take her or even get her up. So, she doesn’t go to Sunday school.
Situation #2 – Parents, who are not Christians, know that it is important for their children to learn what’s right and what’s wrong, so they take their kids to a local church and drop them off for Sunday school once or twice a month.
Situation #3 – Parents who are Christians and regular in attendance in worship, drop their kids off at church for Sunday school. They go back home, finish getting ready and then come back for the worship service an hour later.
Any of these sound familiar? If your community and church are like most, you probably have quite a few examples of each taking place each week. As Sunday school leaders, we should find each of them very disturbing.
In the first situation we find something that is all too common – a child has an interest in Sunday school, but because of either unconcern or opposition from the parents, the child never gets to Sunday school.
The second situation points to a very unfortunate trend sweeping through many families. Parents know their children should be taught morality and religion, but because they either don’t know how or don’t want to take the time, they don’t do it. As a result, the child either gets no such training or the parents try to push the responsibility for such training off onto someone else.
It is certainly commendable that the parents at least turn to the church for this training, but expecting the church to achieve real results in just an hour or two a month may not be realistic. Certainly, Sunday school can change the lives of these children, but to expect the learning from a brief time in Sunday school to offset the non-Christian influences that many kids are subjected to in their home each day can be a problem.
The third situation points to the opinion of many Christians that Sunday school is only for children. Is it? What is the purpose of Sunday school? To learn about God, His Word and His will for our lives, right? Are those things that only children need? Certainly not! Every person of every age should be in Sunday school each week eagerly striving to learn more about the Bible and how to apply it to every area of their life.
The Bible is the Christian’s “handbook.” It contains the answers and information that we need to live each day of our life for Jesus Christ. If we are truly committed to Him, we should have a desire to learn even more about Him through His Word, and that means being in Sunday school each week.
From the creation of Adam and Eve, the family has been an institution blessed by God. In Deuteronomy 31:12, God gives these instructions to Moses, “Call together all the men, women and children…so that everyone may hear God’s Word…and learn to obey his teachings faithfully.” These words can very easily be paraphrased for us today, “Call together everyone of every age – whole families – to come to Sunday school to hear and study God’s Word, the Bible.”
None of the three situations listed above has an easy solution, but the best answer to each problem is to try to get the entire family into the Sunday school. That will probably involve visiting and talking with the parents, perhaps on a number of occasions, to tell them about Sunday school and its value to each member of their family. If other people within the Sunday school know the family or are friends with them, they should be urged to talk to them and to extend an invitation to them, too. Having a friend within the Sunday school is one of the best ways to get a new family to attend.
Before you extend an invitation to a new family, however, you need to take a look at your Sunday school and ask, “Do we have good, quality Sunday school classes for every member of the family?” If your program does not include classes for every age group and classes that will meet the needs of each family member, even if you get them to come once, they probably won’t be back.
Families are one of the best ways to “grow” a Sunday school. Getting several new families, with four or five members each, would provide a major boost in attendance to any Sunday school.
Remember, “Families Belong In Sunday School!”