THE RUMORS OF ITS DEATH have been greatly exaggerated.
Sunday school goes by many names in different churches. Still, most churchgoers recognize the more common name of this open small group that often meets on church campuses.
And not a small number of churchgoers think that the days of Sunday school’s effectiveness as an evangelistic and assimilating arm of the church are passing quickly.
I should know. I was one of those Sunday school skeptics. And then I tried something. I researched churches across America. My team looked at churches in denominations and at churches that had no affiliation with a denomination. We looked at small, medium, and large churches. We looked at churches in rural areas, suburban areas, urban areas, and transitioning areas. And I sent the research team forth with my bias that Sunday school was dying and losing its effectiveness. But I did my best to keep the study objective despite my bias.
You can probably anticipate the findings of the study. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
In some of the most effective evangelistic churches, Sunday school was the program of choice. In some of the best assimilating churches, Sunday school was the glue that held the the people together. Ouch. It’s tough to be that wrong.
But there is good news. The good news is that the old and sometimes maligned organization called Sunday school can still be an effective tool to move your church toward greater health. There is even more good news. You can have your own personal consultant to lead your church to becoming a healthier church. His name is Steve Parr. And he is the author of this gem of a book called Sunday School That Really Works.
I have known Dr. Parr for many years. I have known him as a leader in denominational work. I have known him as friend. I have known him as my doctoral student. And I have known him as one of the brightest minds alive today on Sunday school.
This book is just what many of our churches need. It may be what your church needs.
May I make a recommendation? Read this book. Then get some copies for key leaders in your church. Ask them to read this book. Then get additional copies for members throughout the church. I think they will be amazed. I know they will be motivated. And I would not be surprised if you see some really positive developments in your church.
Thank you, Steve Parr. You have made a great contribution to the health of the church. I recognized that reality the first time I read the book. But then I read the book a second time, something unusual for me. And I was even more encouraged. This book is just that good.
Thom S. Rainer President and CEO Lifeway
Author of Simple Church
Steve Parr. Sunday School That Really Works: A Strategy for Connecting Congregations and Communities (p. 9). Kindle Edition.