The sixties with their political, educational, and social unrest made a tremendous impact on the Sunday school. Life magazine had charged Sunday school with being the most wasted hour of the week. Attendance plummeted. To coax students back, leaders experimented with team teaching, testing, small groups, even such techniques as sensitivity sessions. Some teachers tackled such subjects as sex, politics, and women’s liberation. A number of churches began large busing programs and give-aways to improve attendance.
The seventies have brought a degree of backing-off from these changes and returning to fundamentals. Here are some current trends as I see them:
1. Leaders realize Sunday school can’t be made a religious recreation room or a laboratory school to experiment with social problems. There is some feeling that the Sunday school should be taking its patterns not from the public school but from Scripture. This feeling is undoubtedly part of a larger more conservative mood in America today. The popular children’s TV show “Sesame Street” showed that the teacher could stimulate and get results. Bill Gothard demonstrated that plain old lectures with a limited number of innovations could attract crowds and meet human needs.
Ten years ago it was predicted that by 1980 Sunday school would be taught by television and that computers would be used to keep records and assist in follow-up of absentees. Those predictions are not materializing. The Sunday school is still a very human agency. The underlying problem, however, was not that all the new methods were wrong but that fundamentals were being neglected. Now there is a trend to concentrate on reaching the lost and winning them to Christ, and then teaching them biblical doctrine and ...1
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