I am a product of Sunday School, and I was conditioned to do it wrong. I’ll always be grateful for the knowledge and the stories, but if Sunday School is simply about Bible lessons and information transfer, then we’re doing it dangerously wrong. Sunday School comes in all shapes and sizes today. Some are large, most are small. Some are new, most have been meeting together for years. Some have at least a semblance of biblical fellowship, many are there just for the lesson.
I remember sitting in my Sunday School class as a teenager with a senior adult lady who had somehow been roped into teaching high school boys. Although I’ve never had a root canal I hear that the experience is quite similar. As our group of guys sat there, bursting with energy and questions, our Sunday School teacher had one goal: get through the lesson. She was methodical enough to write it all out. Since we all sat around a table and she read her lesson word for word, many times I would read over her shoulder and silently will her to speed up to the next page to shorten the agony. She might have thought she was successful because she plowed through the lesson each week, but that shouldn’t even be the point of Sunday School.
Paul says, “Knowledge puff up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Many Sunday Schools are centered about hearing and learning the Bible, but not so much about daily application or life transformation. Jesus had a clear warning for that type of approach to Christianity: a foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:26-27). How is it we’ve created a program dedicated to learning the principles of Scripture that actually breaks the principles of Scripture?