No Sunday School is immune from Sunday School challenges, hurdles, obstacles, opportunities, or problems. What you call them may say more about how you feel about them. After years of doing Sunday School work, I am convinced that when you and your Sunday School team work together with God there are no problems that are insurmountable!
What brought this topic to my mind was an article by Julia Shipley entitled 10 Problems Every Sunday School Faces. According to Shipley, “A recent survey gave insight into the problems that face the local Sunday school.” I will share the problems from Shipley’s article in three parts. In Part 1, I will share the first three problems from her article in all capitals followed by my commentary offering some possible solutions:
- LACK OF GOOD SUNDAY SCHOOL LITERATURE AND RESOURCES. There is such a proliferation of Sunday School curriculum materials today that sometimes it is more of a problem trying to weed through all the good choices. One hesitation I would offer is that you need to be careful of running away from one choice and choosing a worse one. We all get bored, but just because you are bored with your current curriculum does not mean that it should be dumped. Evaluate alternatives fairly without rushing. Get an evaluation team together. That will tend to result in fewer rash choices that you will later regret.
- LACK OF MONEY. Money won’t solve all the problems. Sometimes a group can come up with a creative solution at no cost or a much reduced cost. And at other times, you have not because you have asked not. If you share some needs with classes and individuals, they may provide the financial resources needed even when there is no money in the budget. And this may be a sign that you are underbudgeting for Sunday School each year. Or perhaps you are not budgeting enough for the right needs. Consider hopes, goals, and plans when making your budget. Growth requires more money for curriculum, resources and supplies, training, room preparation, and more. Budget for growth!
- LACK OF SPACE. When space becomes filled to 80% of capacity, growth usually slows or stops. Be proactive about seeking space options. Move classes to rooms that allow for continued growth. Empty out storage spaces. Move three or more classes into large spaces, like fellowship halls, sanctuary, gyms, etc. Consider using your space more than once (before and after worship, flip flop schedule, or stair step schedule). Make it as attractive and useful as possible.
In Part 2, we will look at Shipley’s next three problems: lack of support, lack of concern, and lack of growth in all age groups. Take a step back and give some perspective to the problems. Which is the biggest one your Sunday School faces? How can you turn it from a problem to a challenge and from a challenge to opportunity? You (plural) + God = more than enough to conquer it! Trust God. Trust each other. Pray. Work together. Be revolutionary!