In my neck of the woods, Sunday School seems so old school. Churches around here are known for small groups, discipleship groups or access groups. Outside of the metro Atlanta, let alone any big city in the United States, Sunday School is still the norm. In some people, including myself, sunday school got the cold shoulder. I thought it was boring and irrelevant growing up. That was until some of the youth pastors I had over the years, took Sunday School and brought it up to speed. Nothing really changed in the purpose of the classes, only some of the content changed. Current events and media were used to explain some of the same material other Sunday School classes were learning in the church. If the pastor wanted us to learn the same lessons that the adults were learning, the youth ministry would “spice it up” a bit.
But, I was naive and was chasing newer things. I felt like leaving Sunday School was the best thing. Looking back years later I realize how important Sunday School was in my life. I’ve forgotten much of what was taught, but what really matters is that it kept me focused and on a right path throughout my middle and high school years. Sunday School taught the logical side of Christianity, and without it, the emotional aspect of small groups would have never been as significant.
Sunday School has not really left our churches. Our mega and modern churches still do Sunday School, albeit, it is with a full-on production and extravagant message. But there was something about Sunday School that made more of an impact on my life. The gathering of both genders, the circle of chairs, the challenge to read the Bible or answer questions from the previous week. Many times our classes agreed to raise money for a cause or read a whole book of the Bible by next Sunday. Without that fun and competition side, we would have been left empty-handed.
Yes, you may say that small groups are the Sunday School of today, but small groups are micro-managed and often pre-selected. Sunday School was for whomever showed up that week. Today it is all about hobbies, interests, geo-location, age, gender and station of life. Sunday School was just a group of people trying to figure out this thing called life. Yes, Sunday School didn’t always do things right. Yes, small groups can be just as effective. But Sunday School was built on the shoulders of many generations of Christians.
What I am saying is please forgive me, Sunday School. I became bitter towards you because I thought you were dumb and out of touch, but you weren’t. You fed me knowledge, morals, scripture and goals to strive for. Without you I would never be in the spiritual and emotional state I am now.