Is Sunday School “Antiquated”?

On September 7, Ed Stetzer hosted an online conference for small church leaders. Brother Ed is an ardent supporter of small churches and his heart for the small church was certainly demonstrated by this online conference. I was only able to watch the conference online for a couple of hours but for the most part, what I saw was very helpful.

One part I saw, though, I did not find very helpful. During the panel discussion time, one young pastor was asked by Philip Nation why they moved from Sunday School to small groups in the home. This young pastor said that they found that Sunday School was antiquated and most of their people who went to Sunday School didn’t know why they were there. (emphasis mine) He went on to say their small groups were much more successful than Sunday School. After this young man spoke, Philip Nation was quick to say that Sunday School was still vital in many churches. After all, Lifeway sells a lot of Sunday School literature.

According to the, the word “antiquated,” means “too old to be fashionable, suitable, or useful; outmoded; very old, aged; outmoded, obsolete.” Is this young pastor correct in his assessment that Sunday School is obsolete?

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5 Responses to Is Sunday School “Antiquated”?

  1. Only if teaching the Bible, the exercise of the gift of teaching, studying the Bible, iron sharpening iron .. only if those things are obsolete.

    That ain’t NEVER gonna happen.

    Now if Sunday School is about fellowship, or growing the church, or “support for the class”, then it may well be obsolete.

    IMO, it is NOT about those things.

  2. lesliepuryear says:


    Amen, brother!


  3. SAGordon says:

    Well said, Bob.

    I know many churches still have Sunday School, but have a new name for it… “Sunday Morning Bible Study.” I guess this is done to avoid the horrific notion that adults don’t want to be thought of as going to school?

    Sola Gratia!

  4. Terry Reed says:

    In many small churches Sunday school is the only small group opportunity available. I have seen several of these congregations grow by utilizing Sunday school. However, I do recognize that God is not locked into any program made by man including Sunday school. If the young pastor is seeing God’s blessings by going another direction then I rejoice that he discerned the way the Lord wanted them to go. But for me, I will continue to use Sunday school to help grow the church I pastor.

    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools

  5. Quinn Hooks says:

    If Sunday School is obsolete, why is Willow Creek embracing it for discipleship training. Sunday school is the original small group. It has had success in the past and in the future as a means of church growth.

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