An article in the Associated Baptist Press earlier this year reported on the sad state of Sunday School in churches today. Sunday School was founded in England in the 18th century as a way to offer education to children working in factories on their only day off, and was a key feature of church life through the 20th century.
Now, however, there are signs of decline: attendance is going down, participation has become spotty, fewer teachers are available, and family activities are interfering with Sunday schedules.
Much of the problem, says Ken Meyers, minister of Christian formation and education at Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., is due to the fact that many churches continue to use old approaches that no longer are effective.
“Our church culture assumes that people will come to us, that the church is central to society, and that our faith formation is about propositions,” Meyers wrote. Sunday School was based on a “propositional” methodology, in which the purpose of education was to tell students what they should believe.
For these times, Meyers suggests it is vital to engage people with a “connectional” approach that invites people “into conversations that connect their diverse stories with the common quest toward finding purposeful lives.”
“Such connections will spur not only our life stories, but they will elicit the stories of others seeking meaning and purpose in life,” he said. “This approach allows for the postmodern or emerging church realities. Such connections of our human stories will inspire our approach to faith and, in turn, inspire the needed conversations with people beyond our membership walls.”
What connections have you made with your life and faith stories by using BibleWorkbench?
Do you use BibleWorkbench in connection with a Sunday School group, or in some other setting entirely?