A real school on Sundays …

Is anyone learning in your adult Sunday school?

There’s a story of a new minister who was asked to teach a class full of boys during the absence of the regular teacher. The minister decided he would see what the boys knew, so he asked them who knocked down the walls of Jericho. When all the boys denied having personally done it, the preacher was appalled at their ignorance.

At the next deacon’s meeting, the minister told about his experience with the class of boys.

“Not one of them knows who knocked down the walls of Jericho!” he lamented.

The group was silent until one seasoned deacon spoke up.

“Preacher, this appears to be bothering you a lot. But I’ve known all those boys since they were born and they’re good boys. If they said they didn’t know, I believe them. Let’s just take some money out of the repair and maintenance fund, fix the walls, and let it go at that,” the deacon suggested.

Have you ever noticed that adult Sunday school is about the only “school” where there are no tests, no measuring of knowledge learned or understanding gained, no homework, no graduation, and no diploma earned. The classes continue year after year with the same people, many of whom don’t know who knocked down the walls of Jericho.

Have you ever considered changing that?

Several years ago I overhauled an adult Sunday school to be a real Bible school held on Sunday mornings for adults. I wasn’t the first to think of the idea, but it certainly challenged the status quo of the never-ending adult Bible class that produced very little results.

Instead of the standard classes, we offered an actual adult Bible school on Sundays, where adults had a specific curriculum they would study over a two-year period. Each of the classes were eight weeks long, there was weekly homework and a test to pass the class, and after eight weeks they changed to a different class. At the end of the two-year period, all those who had successfully completed the two-year curriculum and passed the tests were awarded a Bible diploma presented by the church.

A few topical classes were offered for those who didn’t want to register for and take on the challenge of the Bible school. The good news was that about two-thirds of the adult members signed up for the new Bible school and became more serious about actually learning something in class on Sunday mornings.

There are all kinds of creative ways of making your adult educational offerings something more than a never-ending, unproductive meeting of adults, but you’ll have to have the courage to challenge your adults to study, to apply themselves to learning, and to be challenged with testing their knowledge and understanding gained. The outcome of such a challenge should be more biblically literate, and spiritually mature adults.

Is anyone learning in your adult Sunday school?