“Whereas in 1820 Protestants had thought about children’s religious experiences primarily in terms of family and church, by 1880 it was impossible to conceive of them without reference to the Sunday school. During the nineteenth century, this new institution became the primary locale – outside of the family – for religious indoctrination of Protestant youth. In the annals of church history the saga of Sunday school was unique, involving not only the creation of a new institution to fulfill functions previous entrusted to parents and pastors…”
Has it been successful? At present the church is facing a mass exodus of its young people into the hands of the culture. Conservative Seminaries, Bible churches and men well-prepared for the pastorate are shrinking by quantum leaps. In light of the present distress one response is to reconsider our manner of discipling the next generation. Sunday school has been the order of the day for the last 200 years in America and Youth Ministry programs were added 50 years ago as the primary means of discipling young people. And yet with the escalation of these programs the departure from the church among young people has only escalated.