Does Sunday School HAVE to be on Sunday?


By Bruce Raley and David Francis

This is Part 9 of a series of blog posts excerpted from Extreme Sunday School Challenge by Bruce Raley and David Francis. 

Sunday is the day for many leaders of the education ministry of the church. In fact, it has often been said that “Sunday morning rules.” Bible study groups meeting adjacent to worship services are not only convenient for the participant, but also provide opportunities for the entire family to experience a group as well as corporate worship in one time frame and location. There are many advantages to having group Bible studies and worship together.

While Sunday morning usually gets priority in most churches, the present culture is now demanding that leaders expand that mindset and look at opportunities beyond a one-time-a-week offering. 

In the 1960s and 70s, businesses were governed by “blue laws.” These laws regulated what businesses could and could not sell on Sundays. While the blue laws originated in response to the demise of prohibition, the laws went beyond the sale of alcohol. In fact, very few businesses could sell much of anything on Sundays. Therefore, few businesses were open.

Today almost every retail chain is now open on Sunday. Restaurants find Sundays to be one of their most profitable days. Manufacturers are operating weekends. While we are certainly not advocating that businesses should be open on Sundays, we cannot ignore this reality. 

In discussing this with church leaders over the last couple of years, most believe 20-25 percent of their community population has some type of work or other obligation on Sunday morning. Think about this; if we offer Bible study and worship only on Sunday mornings, we eliminate the possibility of one out of every five people from ever attending.

We can keep our Sunday morning schedule, as long as we are willing to add to it. Think about your community. If people cannot attend on Sunday morning, when can they attend? Sunday evenings? Wednesday evenings? Saturday mornings? 

There may be another, even greater question. If a percentage of people in your community cannot attend on Sundays, could you go to them? Could you create a Bible study class that met at the local hospital before or after a shift change? What about a class for restaurant workers that meets an hour before clocking in? Could Bible study classes be held in the fire station? Department store? Food court of the mall? Manufacturing plant? 

Stay tuned. Next week’s blog will give you 26 ideas for where and when your church can begin new Bible Study groups.

extreme ss challenge

This article is excerpted from Extreme Sunday School Challenge: Engaging Our World Through New Groups by Bruce Raley and David Francis. Download a free copy of the book by clicking here.

Bruce Raley is Director of Church Education Ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources. He served in education ministry roles in churches in Arkansas and Florida before being called to LifeWay in 2006. Bruce and Donna have two married adult children. In 2011, they began a new young adult group at their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

David Francis is Director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources. Before joining LifeWay in 1997, he served as minister of education at First Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. David and his wife, Vickie, love teaching preschool Sunday School and are helping start a new adult class in their church in Hendersonville, Tennessee.


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