Lights flash and rockets flare as you catapult through the galaxy in your small space capsule. The planet Apollyon, the only planet in the galaxy that does not know God, lies ahead. With a little turbulence, you penetrate the eerie atmosphere.

Your ship’s captain chooses a city, a different one from last week, and you once again meet the strange yet familiar creatures on this planet.

This city has a big problem: stealing. The forces of good and evil at work seem peculiarly like those on planet Earth, and for a good reason. You are acting out the scenario in a Sunday-school classroom at the Cedar Ridge Community Church in Lanham, Maryland, and Apollyon is really an elaborate stage prop that includes a strobe light.

In recent years, some have asserted that Sunday school is an obsolete concept; others cite statistics to show Sunday school is still a force. Regardless, most church experts and publishers agree that the way Sunday school is conducted is changing. While some larger churches are writing their own children’s curriculum, others are substantially adapting current curricula to meet their needs better.

At the forefront is a growing number of mostly seeker-oriented churches (churches that gear at least one service to the unchurched), who are responding to what they see as a need for greater cultural relevance. Though the number of seeker-oriented churches is statistically small, church-growth experts such as John Vaughan of Southwestern Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, consider them to be highly influential. What they do often trickles down to other churches. As a result, the traditional image of Sunday school, with one person teaching Bible verses to rows of obedient children, is no longer accurate for many churches. ...

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