I sit before the panel of distinguished looking men dressed in dark suits, spotless white shirts and ties.
About to graduate from Bible College, I am applying to be a missionary candidate. The final step in the process is this dreaded interview with the Board of Directors of the mission. I have done quite well to this point, answering questions on Bible history and theology, and am feeling quite confidant.
“Do you go to Sunday School?” His voice is strong, his face serious. I am startled. What kind of question is this? Do I go to Sunday School?!
‘Please’, my mind begs, ‘can’t we go back to discussing the prior question - Where are the dead?’ Now that was something I could sink my teeth into and demonstrate my deep theological understanding on.
I have no recourse but to reply truthfully. Maybe they are asking me because they already know the answer. Perhaps they all have the gift of discernment, which is why they have been chosen for this interrogation board.
Goodness! Now I’m being paranoid. This isn’t an interrogation, it’s an interview. These are all my brothers in Christ, albeit much older and wiser brothers. And my fate does rest in their hands. So be it.
“No, I don’t go to Sunday School.” That’s it. I don’t. There’s no other way to say it.
The men don’t even flinch. In fact, some smile as they look down at their papers lying on the table. One gentleman looks me in the eye. I’m sure I see a twinkle in his as he leans forward, waggling a finger at me, saying, “Everybody ought to go to Sunday School“, in a sing-song lilt.
“Yes,” I agree wisely. Perhaps not so wisely, adding, “But I feel like I live at Sunday School.” I see a couple grins around the table. This is, after all, Bible College, and I have been attending classes on every book and subject of the Bible and Christian ministry for the past three years. I’m sure they understand why I might feel like I live at Sunday School. They probably felt the same way. Maybe it was just a test to see how I would handle the question. I don’t know, but it’s always best to be straight forward when going before the Board of Directors.
No further comments are made and we move on to the next question, ‘define justification’. Now I don’t even flinch. I’ve got this one nailed. Although many theologians continue to discuss the finer points of justification I’m quite confident that I understand this complex subject. Ah, the confidence of youth.
I pass the interview and am welcomed as a missionary candidate despite my lack of attendance at Sunday School.
I never did become a missionary, but I did go back to attending Sunday School regularly after graduation. I did also teach Sunday School for many different age groups, including Junior High. You have to believe in the value of Sunday School to put yourself in that position, and I do. In all fairness to Junior Highers, they are actually quite an entertaining and enjoyable bunch.
Statistics tell us that 80% of believers in North America make their decision for Christ between the ages of 6 and 18. I am willing to bet that a great many of those decisions can be attributed in some part to Sunday School.
Many people say that children ought to be taught the Bible at home; that parents should not rely on the church to teach their children. True enough. But conversely, the church should not rely strictly on parents to do the job. The church and parents can work together to provide a child with a full spectrum of Christian experience.
Many years ago I told the examiner that I did not attend Sunday School and perhaps his answer that everyone ought to go to Sunday School was a bit too broad. However, I would encourage all Christian parents to take your children to Sunday School. It is unlikely to hurt and quite likely to help.
Of course, attending Sunday School is no guarantee that a child will walk steadfastly in the way of the Lord. There are no guarantees, but in the large scheme of things taking our children to Sunday School may fall in the category of Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”(KJV)
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