Sunday School and Cultural Shifts

 

            21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21-22 NIV)

 

            We live in a much different world than even 30 years ago. Though our Gospel message is the same, we need to make some changes in the way we deliver the message. There are two changes I want to highlight today based on a conference Glenn Akins, Assistant Executive Director of the VBMB, attended two years ago about the six marketplace realities that changed 20 years ago.

 

            Time-

Americans are working longer work weeks and 80% of families have both parents working outside the home. There are adults who work on Sunday as well and cannot attend a Sunday morning SS class. Do we have alternative times for Bible study classes?

 

Many parents are struggling to balance spiritual activities due to their children’s schedules on the weekend with travel teams, and other extracurricular events during the week. Do we have the possibility for Sunday School on the go?

 

Training for teachers may still work as a weekly workers’ meeting on Wednesday nights for some churches, but not for all. What do we do about training and helps?  

 

            Technology-

The internet arrived in early 1990’s, and then grew by 100% annually during the decade. Web 2.0 arrived in 2005 w/ social media. 96% of millennials have joined a social network.

How are we doing adapting to the new technical realities? Caught up, lagging, or leading….?

 

Here are some possible solutions:

 

1. Have a small group Bible study at alternative times. Whether in a person’s home, workplace at lunch or in a community store, Bible study can happen anywhere and anytime.

 

2. Is it possible to record the Sunday morning Bible study and send it out by cd or mp3 for those who miss?

 

3. Is it possible to use Skype or Google plus Circle of Friends to have persons away on the weekend participate on their laptop?

 

4. Send a one page summary of discussions of the class by e-mail or Facebook. Find ways to share commentary during the week on the computer.

 

5. Give a tear sheet or one page summary to parents of children who are away that Sunday to discuss as a family.  

 

6. Thanks to Tamara Tillman at FBC Rome, GA for the idea, you may want to try a website presence for a teachers’ forum on the lesson each week. Set up a page on your website or Facebook for teachers to share ideas, personal experience and stories during the week to prepare for Sunday’s lesson.

 

7. Have a college away class by computer to include them in a weekly Bible study. I know of college students using Google Plus Circle of Friends who meet every Thursday at 7 p.m. all across the country!

 

Our world has changed. Let’s just admit that fact. We simply need to ask ourselves, “How can we share the Gospel message in this ever-changing world?” When we do and make necessary changes, I believe I see new wineskins!   

About tonystopic

Seeker and connector to the abundant life as a husband (to Katrina), father (to Tara & Joseph) and Field Strategist/Sunday School Specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
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