I know the term “Sunday School” is deprecated in some areas, but the image of the “one room Sunday School” is very evocative of the kind of childhood faith development program a lot of little churches — or demographically old churches — have, whatever their denomination. But what if you’re in a church — except for one place I’ve supplied, this is about all I’ve ever seen — where you have one or two pre-adolecent children regularly, and the traditional Sunday School model seems unmanagable and formal for the situation.
I know it is in the blood of institutional people to create institutions — it shows we care; it also shows we can’t see other options — but few things can create more frustration and feelings of church hopelessness than the seeming inability to raise up children religiously. And I suspect this is a major stumbling block for growth in the smallest churches. Or if not growth, it is a major void in the mission of any church.
So I’m asking for help, direction, and advise.
Do you know of any models, theories, or suggestions that could help the one-or-two child congregation? I’m guessing something that mobilizes parents (“as resident theologians” to recall one program) or incorporates the children organically into existing church functions like worship. Or perhaps a mentoring-based path. Whatever — and from wherever. Please leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments, or trackback to this post if you blog and would like to write (have written) on the matter.