pecaspers: a Blog in transition

July 8, 2009

A Comment on a Wall Street Journal article

Filed under: Responses to Articles — pecaspers @ 7:18 AM
Tags: ,

I commented on the following article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124598071177158161.html

It says something that the Wall Street Journal has an article about Sunday School. I’m just not sure what. Many things can be and have been said already about what’s left out of this article. Three issues seem most obvious to me.

First, part of the problem is basically an issue of semantics. Many churches are calling their Sunday morning educational programs something other than “Sunday School” because of a misguided attempt to avoid alienating people who haven’t grown up in church. Another angle of this same issue is that many churches are moving those same programs off of the church campus and/or off of Sunday morning. So it is not as though all that many churches are departing from having scheduled gatherings for Christian teaching in a small group setting, rather some are simply calling it something else, doing it somewhere else, and/or having it some other time.

Second, as it pertains to children and youth, the sad reality is that many churches have done so poorly at passing the Gospel to the next generation that there are no school-aged children in the church to teach. I am a Southern Baptist seminary graduate currently looking for a place of service, and I’ve had the opportunity to preach a couple of times at a very small, very old, somewhat rural church. They have one adult Sunday School class, and nothing for pre-schoolers, children, youth, young adults or any other population segment in particular because there simply are none in the church. The church members have outgrown–by years, not numbers–their ministry to children, which is a tragedy. (That said, they still put on Vacation Bible School and had 20 kids show up, so there is hope yet.) Having searched through many descriptions of churches looking for staff positions, this is a rather common problem in many–at least Southern Baptist–churches.

The third problem I see in the American church is the worst. In large part, our local churches have failed to preach and teach a true and clear Gospel. People have passed through our Sunday Schools, our VBSs, our backyard Bible clubs, and sat for weeks, months, and years under our preaching; and they still think that by some exertion of their own strength they may save themselves. . . or worse, they don’t need saving at all. I do not want to say anything against the Church universal or individual churches, but as a member and to some extent as a leader I must confess for us that we have failed to teach clearly the simple facts that God is creator and He is good, that mankind as a whole and individually from the first man Adam on down has failed to live in obedience and broken fellowship with Him, that God in Jesus the Messiah died in our place as the only complete sacrifice that could appease God’s anger at our sin and impart to us His own right standing before God, and finally–and perhaps most often avoided–we (me myself, you the reader, and everyone else) must turn from ourselves and our sin and trust in and follow Jesus as our Master and Savior. . .or be judged and found to be completely lacking.

[Comment here, on the Wall Street Journal website, or both.]

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