Yes, Sunday School has a bit of a history that many of us parents, church leaders, and youth workers have no great understanding of where this came from and how it has been shaped into new things today.
You do not need to be in youth ministry long to see that Sunday School might have some good potential for spiritual formation, but it absolutely has little draw for many of the teenagers of today.
Our friend Tim Gosset has a great list of ideas for helping to put some change and life into the Sunday School hour. Check this article out and many of Tim’s other thoughts.
1. Find other ways for youth to be involved. On any given Sunday in my congregation, some youth are helping in the nursery, teaching a class, talking with a confirmation mentor, staffing a fund-raising table for the youth mission trip, practicing with the choir, or attending a short-term study designed for adults. What other options for involvement and growth are available in your church?
2. Use e-mail. For youth who can’t be there on Sunday but are interested in the material, send a summary of what was discussed. Follow-up to answer questions.
3. Start a “Saturday school” or a “Thursday school” class. Offer the same class on a day convenient for other youth.
4. Try a youth-led, small-group format.
5. Offer more than one type of class. Don’t be afraid to use different forms of media. A class that utilizes computers, movies, and music will appeal to some youth.
6. Offer more classes for adults, especially classes that appeal to the parents of your teenagers. If the parents participate, the youth are more likely to be present.
7. Invest some time training a group of volunteers who will regularly reach out to inactive youth.