Part 1, Should Sunday School Take a Summer Vacation?

Sunday 1st July, 2007

Southern Baptist Convention churches have long offered year-round Sunday School. In the face of other denominations that have chosen to take a summer vacation from Sunday School, some Baptists are beginning to ask questions. In fact, I spent time with a church staff in the last month who wanted me to help them think through this issue.

What would be the pros and cons of taking a summer vacation? Do teachers and workers need a break? Would they be refreshed and energized from the time off? Would it be easier to enlist new teachers and workers? Or would the momentum of outreach, care, and discipling be lost? Would the glue of assimilation and relationships be weakened? Would bad habits begin by attenders as well as by teachers and workers?

So many questions and so little space to address them. Let me focus on the positive, on the benefits that occur when a church offers Sunday School all year long:

  • Members and guests don't get confused about when Sunday School begins or ends for the year.
  • Churches don't have to change bulletins, web pages, announcements, and other promotional materials.
  • Outreachers can talk about something going on for every age group every week.
  • Relationships are strengthened every week with no gaps.
  • Ministry with dropouts continues with no long gaps.
  • Care groups pray and minister together weekly.
  • Guests have an ongoing opportunity to connect with people their age in addition to worship.
  • Class fellowships continue each month when Sunday School continues through the summer.
  • Contact information about worship guests can be assigned to classes for immediate prayer and follow up.
  • Like public schools that are moving toward year-round schedule, there is less loss in discipleship progress for all age groups, especially preschool, children, and youth.
  • Meeting regularly prevents forming the habit of not attending (it has been said that doing something for three weeks forms a habit).
  • Teachers don't have to rediscover their rhythm in lesson preparation and class ministry after a summer off.

Can you add one or more benefits to this list? Press the comments button below and share them? In my next blog entry, I will share some Independence Day thoughts. In the entry after that one, I will deal with part 2 of this issue: how to deal positively with some of the concerns that are leading to questions about taking a summer vacation from Sunday School. Consider the benefits above before you make a change. Make sure what you do is revolutionary and not just easier or different!

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