Recent research has pointed to serious problems in Sunday school. Young people are not taking their lessons to heart and are leaving the church in droves. In fact, nearly 70% leave before they turn twenty. Rather than being resigned to defeat, each church needs to stop and reassess its situation.

One word that might be helpful in evaluating your church’s efforts is intentional. Does your church have clearly defined goals and a system deliberately designed to give children a solid foundation to understand God’s Word and see how it makes sense of our world?

If you haven’t considered this question recently, maybe it’s time to stop and take another look at how your church’s children are being educated. Certainly no single system or structure will work in every church, but Scripture must be the guide in every case. If someone asked you the reason your church offers Sunday school, could you give an answer that points to Scripture?

The following questions can serve as a first step in making the most of your church program.

  • What criteria drive the decisions about the curriculum?
  • How do the lessons in Sunday school intentionally address the antibiblical claims about science, history, and philosophy that children hear in secular media and in public schools?
  • How are the students taught to articulate their own faith?
  • If children are separated from adults during lessons, why?
  • Does the church make a special effort to ensure that parents and other members stay informed about the philosophy behind each educational program and how the lessons fit into the plan?

The goal behind these questions is to build a body of believers who work in unison to train children intentionally in the knowledge of God and His Word. Ask these questions about every educational setting—from the classroom to the living room. Even if a program starts out good and well-intentioned, believers need to reevaluate the plan regularly, making adjustments as needed.

—Roger Patterson, educational resource writer and developer

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