Sunday School time ineffective

jsimms435

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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?
 

Josiah

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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.
 

tango

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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.
 

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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.
 

jsimms435

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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.
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.
 

tango

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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.
 

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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.
 

tango

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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.
 

Michael

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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.
 

Lämmchen

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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.
I disagree entirely that you imply that God's children don't see the value of being fed upon His Word.
 

jsimms435

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I disagree entirely that you imply that God's children don't see the value of being fed upon His Word.
my understanding what he said is that many believers today are use to spiritual milk and not solid food due to their spiritual immaturity. similar to what is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
 

tango

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I disagree entirely that you imply that God's children don't see the value of being fed upon His Word.
I read the post as suggesting that some, as opposed to all, people who call themselves Christians would be more interested in other activities than in attending fellowship. I don't see a problem with anyone occasionally skipping out on church - our pastor wasn't at church on Sunday because he was out hunting (he'd arranged for someone else to preach, for the ministerial team to cover him in his absence, and if anyone deserves a break he does). The problem comes if people are routinely skipping out on Christian fellowship because they consider something else to be more important.

Even having said that, it's possible that someone who seldom attends church on a Sunday could be meeting with other Christians in small groups. It doesn't necessarily fit into our modern concept of what "going to church" means but often the closest fellowship is found in small groups.
 

Michael

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I disagree entirely that you imply that God's children don't see the value of being fed upon His Word.
You can have your opinion, that's fine. Perhaps you are surrounded by those who truly delve into the Word, past the "elementary principles of Christ." That would be wonderful. Although, interestingly, you personally have shown disinterest in, or even rejected, most of what I've shared that the Scripture calls the "solid food" or "meat" of God's Word. And it IS Truth from the Scripture. It may not be popular, but then again, neither was the Word the Prophets, the Apostles, or Jesus taught, so I consider myself in good company! :ange06:

And all I can do is state what I've witnessed personally over the last few decades, where a great many church-goers have settled for far less than the "whole counsel of God."
 

Michael

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Even having said that, it's possible that someone who seldom attends church on a Sunday could be meeting with other Christians in small groups. It doesn't necessarily fit into our modern concept of what "going to church" means but often the closest fellowship is found in small groups.
Amen. Some of the most fruitful times in the Word I've had has been among a few gathered in fellowship to pray, study the Word and seek the mind of the Lord. I've had several occasions to teach and fellowship in home groups for 6-7, even 8 hours at a time. :)

And for me, most church services are too short. In the church I used to attend (before the Pastor finally retired at 94 years-old) on Sunday's we met for at least 3 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening for worship, preaching and study. Even our Mid-week Service was a couple hours long, usually preceded by a few of us gathering before for a hour of fellowship. A friend and I started a backyard fireside fellowship on Thursdays that last 3 years as well, with as many as a dozen men joining in. And the 2-3 hours we met & studied went by too quick! Currently, my wife & I have been doing Bible Study every night together since we were married 10 years ago. And the Lord has greatly increased our understanding.

I love the model of the Church that the first disciples adhered to -

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
- Acts 2:42-47

My encouragement always to the saints is to make the time to study and fellowship. The Elect are going to need it to survive what is coming. And especially I counsel husbands and wives to pray together. This is vital. We see the example of marriage being used throughout the Scripture as a type of Christ & the Church. When married couples seek to be in one accord, there is increased understanding of what the Lord God is doing, and His purpose begins to be made clearer.
 

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You can have your opinion, that's fine. Perhaps you are surrounded by those who truly delve into the Word, past the "elementary principles of Christ." That would be wonderful. Although, interestingly, you personally have shown disinterest in, or even rejected, most of what I've shared that the Scripture calls the "solid food" or "meat" of God's Word. And it IS Truth from the Scripture. It may not be popular, but then again, neither was the Word the Prophets, the Apostles, or Jesus taught, so I consider myself in good company! :ange06:

And all I can do is state what I've witnessed personally over the last few decades, where a great many church-goers have settled for far less than the "whole counsel of God."
My opinion is that I don't buy YOUR version of what you call a gospel. I am fed upon God's Word and I feel that your videos are not leading people toward Jesus who died for the forgiveness of our sins, which is what Christianity is about.
 

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My opinion is that I don't buy YOUR version of what you call a gospel. I am fed upon God's Word and I feel that your videos are not leading people toward Jesus who died for the forgiveness of our sins, which is what Christianity is about.
Oh friend, it's about what GOD says in HIS WORD, not mine. If Jesus died only for the forgiveness of sins, then God's plan could never be fulfilled.

How do you take what the writer of Hebrews states in his letter to those who had already been forgiven of tier past sins?

"Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits." - Heb 6:1-3 NASB

Besides what I teach being the message of the Old & New Testaments, and what Jesus and the Apostles preached, many since that time have brought forth the same Gospel; solid men of God who have influenced me greatly, such as Derek Prince, David Wilkerson, David Pawson, Zac Poonen, Bill Britton, Leonard Ravenhill, Richard Owen Roberts; as well as Oswald Chambers, John Owen, Thomas Watson, William Gurnall; and Dr. Robert B. Thompson (of whose ministry I was a part of for 20 years).

Again, "being saved" is the beginning of our Journey, not the end. Else the great bulk of the New Testament - which is written ONLY to "saved" people - with all it's warnings and promises to those who "walk worthy" and "overcome", would need not have been written. Jesus understood and taught this; and so must I!
:ange06:
 

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Oh friend, it's about what GOD says in HIS WORD, not mine. If Jesus died only for the forgiveness of sins, then God's plan could never be fulfilled.

How do you take what the writer of Hebrews states in his letter to those who had already been forgiven of tier past sins?

"Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits." - Heb 6:1-3 NASB

Besides what I teach being the message of the Old & New Testaments, and what Jesus and the Apostles preached, many since that time have brought forth the same Gospel; solid men of God who have influenced me greatly, such as Derek Prince, David Wilkerson, David Pawson, Zac Poonen, Bill Britton, Leonard Ravenhill, Richard Owen Roberts; as well as Oswald Chambers, John Owen, Thomas Watson, William Gurnall; and Dr. Robert B. Thompson (of whose ministry I was a part of for 20 years).

Again, "being saved" is the beginning of our Journey, not the end. Else the great bulk of the New Testament - which is written ONLY to "saved" people - with all it's warnings and promises to those who "walk worthy" and "overcome", would need not have been written. Jesus understood and taught this; and so must I!
:ange06:
Law & Gospel. Learn the proper distinction of each and then you'll understand how Jesus is the great Redeemer and not yourself. We've derailed this thread enough. If you want to start a new thread on why you think Jesus can't redeem you then please do.
 

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Law & Gospel. Learn the proper distinction of each and then you'll understand how Jesus is the great Redeemer and not yourself. We've derailed this thread enough. If you want to start a new thread on why you think Jesus can't redeem you then please do.
When we realize the Gospel is NOT, 'accept Jesus, be saved and forgiven and look forward to heaven' , truly the Light dawns and the whole of Scripture begins to make sense. :ange06:

Do you know that the "Gospel" was preached to Israel in the Exodus, quite some time before the Man Jesus was born?

And I have been teaching the difference between the Law and the Gospel for many years now! :preach: :bible"

Oh, the wonders of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God! :smile:
 
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