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    Denomination & Faith Movement Discussions - Thread: Sunday School time ineffective

    1. #1
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      Sunday School time ineffective

      The church I have recently started attending has about 130 or so in worship and averaging about 55 or so in Sunday School. Recenty there was a short survey in the bulletin about what could be done to change the Sunday School to get more people involved. I am not sure what the problem is in that I just started going there. But, it does seem that in most churches the Sunday School time reaches a lot less people than the worship time does. To the point that some churches have abandoned the Sunday School time all together and have groups during the week in homes.
      I will add that the church I attend is in a small town but there are a lot of larger towns near it and the road that the church is next to is traveled by thousands of people a day. The potential there is huge. It bothers me that they are only reach so few.
      Have you experienced this in the church you attend? Do you go to a Sunday School class?

    2. #2
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      I teach Sunday School. We worship in the 60's and our Sunday School attendance is about 10 (12 on a good Sunday). The Adult Class (led by the pastor) has about 15 (20 tops) in addition. The reality is that we just don't have a lot of children that age.... we have some babies and preschoolers coming up but not a lot of school age kids.

      I read that a church should have a GOAL of 50% of church attendance - but that presumes NORMAL demographics and the reality is, a lot of churches are simply older than "normal."

      In our church, kids WHOSE PARENTS WENT TO SUNDAY SCHOOL AS KIDS, generally come. But since a lot of our church is former Catholics (at least half)... and Catholic kids rarely go to Sunday School.... for those parents, it's just not on their radar. In my brother's mega church, Sunday attendance is probably 5,000 or so but according to my brother, Sunday School is tiny ("less than 100") although they have a lot of people in adult studies - far more during the week than on Sunday morning. Many of those in his church were unchurched and I suspect have no clue what "Sunday School" even is.
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    3. #3
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      I attend Sunday School most weeks. Some weeks I want the extra hour in bed, and some weeks I can't attend because of other commitments (which is sometimes teaching the kids' class, so I guess that technically counts as attending).

      Personally I prefer meeting as a house group during the week but gather that can cause problems for parents of small children. At my last church we didn't do Sunday School as such at all, although we did have kids' groups during the service - we'd start the service with everybody and then part way through dismiss the kids to go to their classes. We had home groups that met every week. At my current church we have Bible study groups but we usually only meet monthly - I'd like to meet more often but scheduling conflicts arise, especially since two couples in our group have small children.

      I think "effective" is something that needs to be determined by the growth in the people attending rather than the number of people attending. I remember years ago the church I attended at the time did an outreach event and attracted a grand total of.... one seeker. Yes, all the publicity etc drew in the mighty total of ONE person. But that person became a Christian by the end of the event. I think you'd need a very secular mindset to regard that as anything other than a success.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

    4. #4
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      I don't attend at the church I'm at now and that's because I have a very long travel time there and back. At my old church I was only a few minutes away so I was there all the time for many studies and church happenings.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus


      1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    5. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by tango View Post
      I attend Sunday School most weeks. Some weeks I want the extra hour in bed, and some weeks I can't attend because of other commitments (which is sometimes teaching the kids' class, so I guess that technically counts as attending).

      Personally I prefer meeting as a house group during the week but gather that can cause problems for parents of small children. At my last church we didn't do Sunday School as such at all, although we did have kids' groups during the service - we'd start the service with everybody and then part way through dismiss the kids to go to their classes. We had home groups that met every week. At my current church we have Bible study groups but we usually only meet monthly - I'd like to meet more often but scheduling conflicts arise, especially since two couples in our group have small children.

      I think "effective" is something that needs to be determined by the growth in the people attending rather than the number of people attending. I remember years ago the church I attended at the time did an outreach event and attracted a grand total of.... one seeker. Yes, all the publicity etc drew in the mighty total of ONE person. But that person became a Christian by the end of the event. I think you'd need a very secular mindset to regard that as anything other than a success.
      one of the reasons I don't attend the church with home groups is that they meet on weekday evenings and I am still working late then, so I couldn't be there anyway.

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by jsimms435 View Post
      one of the reasons I don't attend the church with home groups is that they meet on weekday evenings and I am still working late then, so I couldn't be there anyway.
      Sure, they don't work for everybody. Meeting before the service on Sunday doesn't work for everybody either, it's just about coming up with something that does work.

      A group made up of people who work needs to meet when people aren't at work. A group made up of retired folks might meet during the day. A group with lots of parents might meet less often, or meet earlier in the evening, or whatever else. The group I attended at my last church had several couples with small children so they took turns to host, and when they weren't hosting only one of them would attend.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

    7. #7
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      One of the sad results of modern denominational doctrine is that most church folk don't really see a need to delve deeper into the Word of God, past the dozen or so verses that has formed current popular theology (at the expense of the vast majority of the rest of Scripture.). Personally, as well as attending these for over 20 years, I've taught literally hundreds of Sunday School mornings, Bible Studies, Mid-week Services and home groups; and it is usually only a minority of the congregations that gather to delve into the Word.
      In one setting a couple men and I were touching on the mysteries of the Kingdom, and one fellow with us stated that he saw no need for all this digging into the Scripture; and his direct quote was 'I'm saved and I know it', implying that all the rest doesn't really matter in the end. In reality, for the Elect, it matters tremendously.

      For those - especially those who teach the Word - who believe that "being saved" is the greatest thing that can happen to us, and we can rejoice now 'cause Jesus did it all, and the rest is pretty much just icing on the cake... I often lead to Paul's letter to the Philippian church, in which he writes of his goal; which is largely foreign to the church at large today.

      "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

      12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

      15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind."

      - Phil 3:8-16


      Jesus told us that "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." (Matt 5:6)

      I know, friends, it's easy to find a reason not to attend a Study or fellowship, and I myself have sought to justify myself using work or travel as an excuse; but I firmly believe the Word Jesus spoke when He said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matt 6:33)

      Can we believe and receive this Truth? That it is far more important to spend time in fellowship and communion and seeking the mind of Christ in one accord with fervent saints, than it is to worry about work or gas money or missing out on something our human nature desires, including sporting events or a "good" TV show?

      Just some points to consider.

      Peace & Blessings.
      "having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” - Heb 5:9
      "let no one deceive you. The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" - 1John 3:7
      Indeed, our Eternal lot is determined by our obedience and our behavior. (mdb)

    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
      Jesus told us that "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." (Matt 5:6)

      I know, friends, it's easy to find a reason not to attend a Study or fellowship, and I myself have sought to justify myself using work or travel as an excuse; but I firmly believe the Word Jesus spoke when He said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matt 6:33)

      Can we believe and receive this Truth? That it is far more important to spend time in fellowship and communion and seeking the mind of Christ in one accord with fervent saints, than it is to worry about work or gas money or missing out on something our human nature desires, including sporting events or a "good" TV show?

      Just some points to consider.

      Peace & Blessings.
      You make some interesting points in your post, but this part rather lets the whole down. You are right in that it is easy to come up with fine-sounding ideas for why we just can't make the Bible study this time, but then your comparison to Matt 6:33 is really a false comparison. It's perfectly possible to seek God's kingdom without going to a Bible study. Every once in a while, when I'm not committed to anything specific at church (i.e. I can take the week off), I skip church and go for a walk in the woods. In the woods I can be alone with my thoughts and my prayers, and often when I do that I find myself more spiritually refreshed than I would expect to be had I gone to church. It's not something I do regularly because it is important to gather for fellowship, but many times I've had something specific on my mind and spent extended time in prayer while walking, and received great insights into possible ways forward.

      Yes, we should seek God's kingdom and righteousness as part of a group of believers but there's no reason we can't also do it on our own. Of course there's a big difference between taking time out to be alone and pray, and taking time out to watch the big game on TV.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by tango View Post
      You make some interesting points in your post, but this part rather lets the whole down. You are right in that it is easy to come up with fine-sounding ideas for why we just can't make the Bible study this time, but then your comparison to Matt 6:33 is really a false comparison. It's perfectly possible to seek God's kingdom without going to a Bible study. Every once in a while, when I'm not committed to anything specific at church (i.e. I can take the week off), I skip church and go for a walk in the woods. In the woods I can be alone with my thoughts and my prayers, and often when I do that I find myself more spiritually refreshed than I would expect to be had I gone to church. It's not something I do regularly because it is important to gather for fellowship, but many times I've had something specific on my mind and spent extended time in prayer while walking, and received great insights into possible ways forward.

      Yes, we should seek God's kingdom and righteousness as part of a group of believers but there's no reason we can't also do it on our own. Of course there's a big difference between taking time out to be alone and pray, and taking time out to watch the big game on TV.
      Brother, I absolutely agree with you. Time alone with the Lord God is essential, if we are to progress on to maturity. I was making more the point of so many choosing not to press in - whether it be a mid-week Service at church, a home fellowship, even a Bible Study/prayer time with the wife every night. It's the settling for far less than God's fullness that most "Christians" seem to have, that I believe grieves His Spirit, even while knowing that "the love of most will grow cold" as we near the Time.

      And yes, you can, and we must, spend time alone with God, as Jesus often did, and gain Wisdom and Strength directly from Him. I do not downplay that vital aspect of our walk at all. And here as well, I believe Matt 6:33 is very apropos. For placing and seeking God's Kingdom and Righteousness far above anything else is what pleases the Father and will sustain us infinitely greater than what we may attempt to do in our own strength. As well, there are entities that seek to distract us from pressing in, or even admitting that hunger and thirst. And it is not the dramatic, but the subtle things, the "cares of the world" that can cause us to drift or become comfortable and stagnant in our walk, and before we realize it we have become unfruitful. Our priorities must be in order if we are to "overcome."

      Indeed, we need that one-on-one time with the Lord. And as well, "let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." (Heb 10:24-25). I believe that Day is, as the Apostle wrote, "nearer now than when we first believed."


      Honestly, I'd love to sit & fellowship with some of the brethren here on this forum, even a couple who don't agree with me. Some of the most enlightening times I've had has been in home gatherings where we delve into the Word. God is unveiling Truth in our day, and leading those who "hunger and thirst" past Pentecost into the last three Feasts.

      I want to be among that precious few who names are written here -

      "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,
      And the Lord listened and heard them;
      So a book of remembrance was written before Him
      For those who fear the Lord
      And who meditate on His Name.
      17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,
      “On the day that I make them My jewels.
      And I will spare them
      As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
      18 Then you shall again discern
      Between the righteous and the wicked,
      Between one who serves God
      And one who does not serve Him."

      - Mal 3:16-18


      Peace.
      "having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” - Heb 5:9
      "let no one deceive you. The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" - 1John 3:7
      Indeed, our Eternal lot is determined by our obedience and our behavior. (mdb)

    10. #10
      Lämmchen's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
      One of the sad results of modern denominational doctrine is that most church folk don't really see a need to delve deeper into the Word of God, past the dozen or so verses that has formed current popular theology (at the expense of the vast majority of the rest of Scripture.). Personally, as well as attending these for over 20 years, I've taught literally hundreds of Sunday School mornings, Bible Studies, Mid-week Services and home groups; and it is usually only a minority of the congregations that gather to delve into the Word.
      In one setting a couple men and I were touching on the mysteries of the Kingdom, and one fellow with us stated that he saw no need for all this digging into the Scripture; and his direct quote was 'I'm saved and I know it', implying that all the rest doesn't really matter in the end. In reality, for the Elect, it matters tremendously.

      For those - especially those who teach the Word - who believe that "being saved" is the greatest thing that can happen to us, and we can rejoice now 'cause Jesus did it all, and the rest is pretty much just icing on the cake... I often lead to Paul's letter to the Philippian church, in which he writes of his goal; which is largely foreign to the church at large today.

      "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

      12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

      15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind."

      - Phil 3:8-16


      Jesus told us that "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled." (Matt 5:6)

      I know, friends, it's easy to find a reason not to attend a Study or fellowship, and I myself have sought to justify myself using work or travel as an excuse; but I firmly believe the Word Jesus spoke when He said, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matt 6:33)

      Can we believe and receive this Truth? That it is far more important to spend time in fellowship and communion and seeking the mind of Christ in one accord with fervent saints, than it is to worry about work or gas money or missing out on something our human nature desires, including sporting events or a "good" TV show?

      Just some points to consider.

      Peace & Blessings.
      I disagree entirely that you imply that God's children don't see the value of being fed upon His Word.
      "Christianity does not require more work but more trust." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "Bearing fruit does not make you a branch. A branch is a branch because it grows from the vine." Pr. Jonathan Fisk
      "A Christian's life is not defined by what the Christian does. It is defined by Christ and what He has done for us." Pr. Rolf David Preus


      1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

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