Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Ok, so I have been wrestling with a concept lately and would love to get some feedback. What is the purpose of Sunday school? A few months ago, my four year old was having problems going into his Sunday school class. He just did not want to be there. We decided that if he could behave himself, he could go to church with us. For about a month he did just that. He behaved himself and went to church with us.

I carry a deck of cards and a notepad in my purse all the time so that appointments and sit tight situations are a little easier to manage. I pulled them out after the singing part of service, and my four year old little boy sat there and sorted cards to his hearts content. He sorted them by color, he sorted them by shape, he sorted them by number, and when I was less interested in the sermon than I ought to have been, we added up the numbers together. He did very well.

As the weeks went by, my hunny and I got to discussing why we send the kids to Sunday school? What is the point? We got into the habit of asking them, on the way home from church, "what did you learn today?". They almost always answer with this sort of answer : "Well, the story today was about baby Moses" Or "for craft we made a basket out of paper and lowered it down the wall with Paul in it". So we started asking... "well, what did you LEARN? You know, what did you find out today, that you did not already know?"  Their response is always... "Oh, well, nothing then..." So we are now back to my question... What is the point? Is it child care so that we grown ups can sit and listen to the sermon? Is it so that the kids learn that church is a place to play and have fun? Is it so that kids learn to love God?

I truly love my church! I love the pastor, I love the members, I love the way it deals with issues... I really do love my church. But I wonder if the idea of Sunday school is just another form of public school.

As my hunny and I learn more about home schooling, why we do it, its values, its roots, its drawbacks, its purpose, we are finding that we really do believe that this is the way that God intended for us to raise our children. At home, with us as their main influences. Guiding their decisions, teaching them our values, instilling in them our faith, discipling them in the way that they should go. We are realizing that as they are with us, they become like us. They develop our mannerisms, our habits, our good traits and bad. This is how they grow, how they learn to be adults. By being with adults.

So why do we take the benefits of home schooling (and the methods by which we see these results) and throw them out the window when it comes to church? Why do we group our children by age? Wouldn't that teach them to be like kids their age? Why do we dumb down the bible? Doesn't that teach them that they are too dumb to understand it? Why do we only teach them bible stories and not the living truth that is illustrated by those stories? Doesn't that teach them that it is just like any other story book... meaningless to their own lives?

I posted a link on my facebook page that touches on this subject (I have since found a better link, if you are interested you you can read This interview) to see what kind of a response I would get.  I was challenged to take my thinking to the next step. To follow this thought further and see what I find. What about AWANA (we are involved in that program)? What would we do with our kids while we are in church? What else do I just take as served instead of evaluating its value and cost?

I think it would be a great deal of inconvenience for us (and the people sitting near us) if we were to take all four of our children into service with us (they outnumber us). At least at first. I am sure that we would have to answer our whining kids as to why they cannot play with their friends. (Yes, my kids whine) I KNOW that they will not learn much in "big church" (at least at first). These are several of the drawbacks that came to mind when I pursued this line of thinking. 

But what are the benefits?  We would KNOW what our kids were taught, and then be able to discuss it with them later. They would be with adults, learning to become adults. If we decided to go to the first service that our church offers and then stay for the second, the kids could still spend time with their friends during the less structured kids time. Hey, we could even volunteer to help direct that time.

I think I have figured out the dilemma.... Sunday morning church is more outreach focused than discipleship focused . It provides programs that are focused on inviting unbelievers. Focused on salvation for the lost. I suppose that is a good thing when you take into consideration that our job as parents is to "train them up". Our church has a "program" (that is not the right word but I cannot think of what I am looking for right now) called "R" groups. Mid week bible studies. Small groups. I guess in this line of thought, the Sunday morning church is for outreach and the smaller group study is for discipleship. The sharpening iron with iron. Then the family goes home and disciples the children...

I think I just talked myself in a circle... But I think I understand it better now... Alright, before I post more I need my hunny to get home so we can talk...

 I hope i have encouraged you to think about why you do what you do... and maybe you can shed more light on this topic than I am able to see right now... I would LOVE to have your input!

Until next time...

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