It's All In The Timing

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Sometimes something that has almost no theological significance turns out to be really important. In this case, it is the question of if you have Sunday School before or after church or, in some cases, on another day altogether.

Our Sunday School meets for an hour before church. We meet from 9:15 to 10:15 on Sunday morning with worship at 10:30. It can be a long morning for the young kids. Our main competition for this time is Saturday night. If families or teens are out late then it is really nice to sleep in on Sunday morning and skip Sunday School.

We also have a conflict from a source we didn’t expect. Our church has done a really good job of including kids and teens in worship leadership. This is good in lots and lots of ways but guess when people want to practice for Sunday morning worship? That’s right, on Sunday the hour before worship. This sometimes isn’t an occasional problem – many of our teens are involved in worship more often than not, running sound or playing an instrument. When the church orchestra plays on Sunday morning a class of ten teens can quickly become a class of two. This can make teachers who have prepared for class feel like their program isn’t worth it compared to a rehearsal. Fortunately, the folks in charge of those programs were great to work with and we had some conversation about the problem and moved those rehearsals to 8:45 a.m. While the kids aren’t wild about the early start, I think they understand.

Our education committee has, on occasion, thought about moving the time Sunday School meets to after worship but then there is a conflict with dinner time. As it is, when my family gets together for Sunday dinner, we’re always the last ones to arrive because our church starts later than everyone else’s. We could make the worship time earlier but many people like it at 10:30. So at this point we are sticking with the 9:15 start time. But that doesn’t mean we don’t keep talking about it.

What time is your Sunday School program? What are the pluses and minuses of that time?

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This is a great question, Laura. I'd love to hear what other churches do when it comes to scheduling Sunday school. Until last year we had Sunday school on Sunday nights. But the attendance was low, so we made the transition to having Sunday school before worship. We have more people of all ages attending, but it does make for a LONG morning--especially for the youngest kids. Our worship service lasts about two hours, so we begin at 9:30 with Sunday school and usually leave church around 12:30.

I wish there was a better way--we've talked about mid-week programming, but have never been able to get everyone on the same page with the days and the times. Plus we have a mid-week Cadet's program, so it would be hard to juggle that along with another day for Sunday school. For now, what we have is better than before but not perfect...

We start Sunday School (including adult bible class) at 10 am, church starts at 11am with a ten minute break between.   Then, after the service, there is coffee and sometimes cookies, usually people stay for another half hour or so.   We have dinner at 2 pm, maybe at 1:30 pm.   or a light lunch, and then dinner/supper at 5 or 6 pm.   But we only have one service on a Sunday, which makes it easier to be at church for 2 and a half hours in the morning.