The Sunday School spirit was ignited by Christ and was passed by Him to the disciples. The Sunday School is a modern title for an ancient and apostolic service to the Church. It is a school for disciples and friends. It is a school with a Master. It is a school with a textbook - the Bible. The Sunday School is a flame which will help dispel the darkness of spiritual ignorance. Beyond the limits of the Church, beyond the homes of believers, beyond the bounds of Christian civilization are neglected multitudes to whom the very alphabet of religion is an unknown thing and familiar phrases of Christian faith a strange thing. Therefore, the spirit of the Sunday School must always remain active so as to fulfill its place with dignity within the Church today.
Purpose of Sunday School
The Sunday School is a department of the Church. As such, it carries on its activities as a part of the total church program, never apart from it. The Sunday School is one of the very vital teaching arms of the church. It is first and foremost a teaching agency. The organizational structure is such that it has for its aim the effective teaching of God's Word.
Involved in this purpose of teaching are two areas of responsibility; namely, the responsibility is to teach to win and teach to develop. Teaching to win means teaching for conversions - to see individuals coming to Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It is here as the Word is taught that we witness souls studying and then applying the Word of God to their lives in such a way as to accept the claims of Christ on their life. Teaching to develop implies leading believers into a fuller and richer spiritual life through the ministry of teaching God's Word. The Sunday School, through teaching, is strategic in its potential for equipping men and women spiritually to carry the message of God's love into their daily experiences.
Additionally, the Sunday School will help build Christian character and train people in Christian service. It will also help build the Church. As the Sunday School grows, church membership will increase.
History of Sunday School
The Sunday School is the oldest auxiliary in the Church. The Bible records, "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues..." (1 Corinthians 12:28). It has been said that the Sunday School is the auxiliary which reaches from the cradle to the grave. It encompasses all age groups.
The Sunday School was discussed at the first Assembly of the Church, held in Cherokee County, North Carolina, on January 26th and 27th in 1906. The following statements can be found in the Minutes of that Assembly:
"We highly favor this important service as a means to teach the people to reverence God's Word and the house appointed for worship, and also, to elevate the morals of a community. It is, therefore, the sense of this assembly to recommend, advise and urge every local church to have a Sunday School every Sunday during the whole year. We advise the workers to do all they can to propagate the Sunday School interest, and search for places where there are none and organize where it is possible to do so. We believe a Sunday School may sometimes be organized and run successfully where a church could not be established at once, thereby opening and paving the way for more permanent work in the future. It is further recommended that Sunday Schools be held in the forenoon when it is possible to hold them at that time."
It can readily be seen that from this early General Assembly the Church has sought, through teaching, to extend the outreach and influence of Christ in our communities.
Sunday School Literature
The Church of God is pleased to offer Sunday School literature published by its own Print Shop Ministry. The Sunday School literature is offered in a variety of medium format and is specialized for varying age groups. A summary of the literature is detailed below.
Treasures of TruthFocus Groups: Adults (18 years and up) - View Sample Lesson
At the present time we have available a lesson commentary book which is also available in large print. Individual lessons are available in leaflet style for visitors who may attend.
Teen HeraldFocus Groups: Teenagers (13-17 years) - View Sample Lesson
These are available in booklet style. These lessons contain valuable information that enables teens to deal with issues specific to their age group.
Junior DefendersFocus Groups: Juniors (9-12 years) - View Sample Lesson
These are available in booklet style. Each lesson contains a life application, terms to learn, activity corner, and a mini quiz.
Primary ChampsFocus Group: Primary (6-8 years) - View Sample Lesson
These are available in leaflet form and include a myriad of subjects including "Drinking Living Water", "Prayer", "Giving", and "A Friend of Children", etc. Each lesson contains pictures, puzzles, and activities to reinforce the lesson material.
Precious LambsFocus Group: Pre-school (3-5 years) - View Sample Lesson
These are available in leaflet form and include the basic Bible truths. Each lesson contains a picture, pertinent to the lesson for the pupils to color, an application story, vocabulary helps, and teacher's tips, which will help reinforce the lesson materials.
Sunday School Outreach Ministries
The ministry of the Sunday School department is not limited to the weekly lessons within the basics of an organized school. As the Sunday School ministry of a local church grows, it is beneficial that the local church consider expanding the boundaries of its ministry. These ministries are considered to be the Sunday School Outreach Ministries. Below is a concise list of the outreach ministries.
The Extension Department enables the Sunday School to reach out in the community and teach the shut-ins and those unable to attend the regular services. This department has reached many with the Word who have not had the privilege of attending for various reasons including their health and often times their work schedules. The Sunday School must not leave anyone out of its ministry.
Audio CDs and videos of a regular Sunday School class can also be sent to individuals who may live too far away for a regular Sunday School visit. Many are currently participating in this program.
Cradle Roll Department
The Cradle Roll Department reaches out to families with new babies. In ministering to these families during this special time in their lives; many have been reached with the gospel message and have become regular Sunday School attendees. This is a wonderful opportunity for ministry to new families.
The aim of the Cradle Roll is "Every parent's baby on the Cradle Roll, and every baby's parent in the Sunday School". A welcome letter signed by not only the Cradle Roll superintendent, but by the Sunday School superintendent should be sent to each new family with a baby enrolled in the school. A gift basket from the Sunday School would also be appropriate to give to the new family. All relatives of the baby who are not members of the Sunday School are also prospects who may be won for the Sunday School.
No child is too young to become a Cradle Roll member. From the moment of birth, he/she is eligible. Many children have been enrolled before ever leaving the hospital. When they reach two years of age, they are eligible to become regular attendants of the Sunday School and enter what is commonly referred to as the Nursery Class.
Vacation Bible Schools
Vacation Bible School affords the local Sunday School with an excellent opportunity to reach out to the children within the community. Curriculum for VBS is available via the online store. These lesson packs include a Director's Pack, Teen Student Book, Junior Student Book, Primary Student Book, and Preschool Student Book.
Children's Church is a worship service designed with our children in mind. It enables them to participate in a worship service that is designed for their specific age level. They are presented Bible truths that they can relate to and therefore are afforded the opportunity to have a meaningful worship time.