Nearly nine in ten pastors say Sunday school is an important part of their church's ministry, but apparently not as important as it once was. In a 2002 survey, researcher George Barna found 22% of pastors called Sunday school their church's top priority. In a survey this year, that number dropped to 15%. The pollster offers several evidences for this decline in attention to Christian education:
Fewer churches offer classes for young children. For infants under age two, the number of participating churches fell from 79% to 73% since 1997. For kids ages two to five, the number declined from 94% to 88% in that period.
Fewer classes for adolescents. Churches with Sunday school programs for junior high students declined (93% to 88%), as did high school classes (86% to 80%).
This represents about 20,000 fewer churches providing Sunday school for each age group. The numbers held steady over the past eight years for elementary age students with 92% of churches offering classes, and ...1