Should Sunday Schools and Youthworkers be scrapped?

Should Sunday Schools and Youthworkers be scrapped?

Regular readers of this blog will know that for a while now we have been exploring how to turn the child exodus from our church gatherings around. The term “it takes a whole church to raise a child” has been coined in a bid to help every member of the church play their part in the spiritual formation of young people. We have spoken about the key role parents have in this. At our recent Evangelical Alliance council meeting to stir up the debate we put on a debate and asked four youthwork specialists to argue a case. The proposition was “This house believes Sunday schools and Youthworkers should be scrapped.” Those arguing did not necessarily personally believe in their positions – they were asked to present a case. The result was a very lively debate which brought out some of the key issues facing our children’s an youth ministry. Take a look at the video then case your vote….

Benedict Mwendwa is the Salvation Army’s children’s advocate and argues a strong case for abolishing sunday schools on the basis that the encourage segregation and help parents abdicate responsibility.

John Kee argues when something is broken you fix it you don’t abolish it.

Jason Gardner argues that we should scrap youth workers because they stop the rest of the church and parents from building relationships with the church’s young people.
Sarah Wynter argues that specialism is valuable so we should keep our youth workers.


5 thoughts on “Should Sunday Schools and Youthworkers be scrapped?

  1. Sam Brown says:

    Is the phrase ‘It takes an entire church to raise a child’ encourage a political stance on this issue? Certainly upon hearing that phrase, the ideas of Marx and Engels about the abolition of the nuclear family come to mind. Should the church take on some of the ideas/characteristics of a commune? Despite the inevitable backlash against using such stigmatised words as ‘socialist/Marxian/commune’, is there a underlying political position of the early church different to the ‘traditional’ family position that traditionalists have come to love nowadays? The book of Acts depicts a church where people were primarily a community, helping one another which encourages one to a position that all were helped in the raising of the family. Anyway, just a summarising thought…

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    1. krishkandiah says:

      Interesting comment mate. No political intonation intended. Just taking seriously the bible’s language of the church as the household of God.

      1. Sam Brown says:

        Not a political stance from you, just the term, interesting when you combine early church community and that term where you can relate later political writings together…

  2. RiaD says:

    As a young mum, some 18 years ago, as I held my first born son, the Lord gave me a vision for my family, and for their future.

    Part of that vision, was searching for a New Testament church, that encouraged intergenerational worship (and when I say worship, I mean teaching/ministry/prayer time as well).

    5 children later, I have an even firmer belief that they do not have a junior Holy Spirit, nor do I believe we need to dumb the gospel down in order to reach them, and disciple them. In fact, if a child can not understand the simplicity of the gospel being preached on a Sunday morning, then have we missed the point of the gospel?

    To segregate children from the Sunday congregation, creates the thinking that you have to be a grown up in order to participate in the serious stuff of the gospel, fellowship and outreach.

    It creates a disconnection that simply is not biblical, it creates a mind set that the ‘church’ is responsible for a child’s discipleship. It creates the belief that when you grow up, then you are ready to get ‘into’ the serious stuff of God. It creates homogenous groups that make ministry about age/gender/marriage status. It stops children from learning from other’s gifts and talents that may not operate within ones own families.

    Nehemiah 4 has been a poignant scripture in my life.

    13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

    15 When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.

    I am not naive enough to believe that Nehemiah had actually stationed whole intergenerational families upon that wall, but the imagery of that scripture is powerful for me. My children have been encouraged to relate intergenerationally to the church, we have sought out such fellowships, they have been taken to prayer meetings, on mission trips, and out reach events, BECAUSE I refuse to set the example for them, that this is the stuff of the adult world. I have also accompanied them on more ‘youth’ related outings for the same reason.

    When the bible talks about the Body, that they are included in that model, That their gifts and talents are vital to the life of the church, and they should be encouraged to use them to exhort and encourage others (no matter their age), and like wise others can speak into their lives powerfully.

    I am not against youth workers, nor those involved in children’s ministry etc Nor would I suggest disposing of them. In fact for most of my young adult life, I have been in one way or another, involved in such work.

    I am however for, the church utilizing those who have the gift of relating to children and youth, to help strengthen family groups or working along side those who come to church without their families, and creating extended families within churches for these children/youth.

    Preparing the way, for their families to be a part of an extended, loving community. We do not want unchurched families to be skeptical of a church that wants to separate them from their children/youth, but rather, set the tone of being an embracing community, ready to welcome whole families, and love and support them on that journey.

    I praise God, continually for the youth workers He has placed in the lives of my children, they have been mighty men and women of God.

    I simply want a model of heaven, on earth. Their will not be a separate heaven for children or youth, we will all be in one place. And when the bible talks about unity within the Body, I have no doubt that applies to age as well.

  3. Efua says:

    is this just talking about the Sunday. or are they arguing that there shouldn’t be youth groups and youth ministry as well.

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