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Session 1 – History & Modern Practice
o From Exodus to the 21st Century
Session 2 – Survey Returns
o Survey returns analysis (charts and graphs)
Session 3 & 4 - Theology
o Discussion on original sin
o The nature of conversion
o Faith development
Session 5 - Sociology
o Raikes’ England
o State of the church ... Now and Then
o Status of the child ... Now and Then
o Prevailing cultures ... Now and Then
Session 6, 7 & 8 - Practice
o Analysis of the four projects
o Ethnography of one of the projects
o Details of communication section
Conclusion of Philip Cliff’s PhD
Sunday School teachers cannot do
for parents what they must do
themselves. The classroom is no
substitute for the family.
(1986, p.322)
“No one was exempt from
(Harris, 1890, p.40)
What is also clear is
Raikes did not set
out to use this
methodology of
evangelism in his
Sunday Schools. This
is something Raikes
stumbled into
experientially, not
through design.
Did the world make itself?
No, if that clock had a maker, much more the whole world had a maker.
Why must you believe in God?
Because if we do not believe in him, I should deny and forget my Maker, and
be without God in the world, like those who spend their money in the public
houses while their wives and children are without bread;
How do you prove there is a God?
1st by common sense; 2nd by our conscience; 3rd by tradition; 4th by the
Sabbath; 5th by the Scriptures.
How do you prove the truth of the gospel or that Jesus Christ was the son of
By the miracles that he wrought and the prophecies that were fulfilled.
Have you any additional proof of the truth of Christianity?
It was spread and established in the earth by a few poor men, in opposition
to the prejudices and passions of mankind. The first preachers of
Christianity therefore must have been assisted by the power of God.
In his letter to Mrs Harris of
1787 Raikes comments that
the Sunday Schools had
expanded so quickly that
attendance now numbered
By 1788, the Sunday School
Society quoted 300,000
attendance in their annual
Figures from Currie, Gilbert and Horsley (1977)
By the year 2000, Brierley (2000, p.109) noted six key issues regarding Sunday
1. Fewer people willing to teach on a regular basis
2. Adults attending less frequently and when they do they prefer to be part of the
adult congregation.
3. Sunday School teachers are unsure how to communicate to today’s children.
4. Many adults do not know their Christian faith well, but still teach children.
5. Those who do teach give up after short periods.
6. The volunteers teaching on a rota system and seeing the children infrequently are
On my first visit to the Slough & Windsor
Project I noted:
Paul is not here today, but the morning
will follow the same routine. Luke, the
co-leader of the Slough and Windsor
Project, calls the team together. He
explains the theme of the day. Today
they will be teaching the children that
they should not follow others in doing
wrong and if they stand for what is right,
God will bless the them.
Luke has been working for this project
since he was a teenager. He is now in his
early 20s.
When I talked to Miriam, one of the
leaders at the Fraserburgh Project ,
who came through the junior leader
programme, she commented: I’ve
been here since it started. I was 11
when it started [1996]. I was one of
the children. When I went to academy
[secondary school] I became a junior
leader. And you are a junior leader
until you are 16. A junior leaders
responsibility is to sit besides the kids,
they are training for becoming a
leader, they are showing their
potential. I got to do the actions at
the front, I got to help with the
games, I got to do some teaching and
I came early and set up and got to
stay at the end.
I encourage them [she said] by little
bribes of a penny a Section to get by
heart certain fundamental parts of
Scripture. Those who attend four
Sundays without intermission receive
a penny. Once in every six to eight
weeks I give a little gingerbread.
Once a year I distribute little books
according to merit. Those who
deserve most get a Bible. Secondrate merit gets a prayer book—the
rest, cheap repository tracts
(Young and Ashton, 1956, p.240).
Although the Bishop of Rochester was clearly not an
advocate of this particular practice and commented in the
Gentleman’s magazine (1800, 1076-8): “The poor are even bribed
by pecuniary gifts to send their children to these schools”
It is possible to institute social reform
without a religious element, but it is
impossible to provide any form of
religious education devoid of a social
Conference we need to stop looking
at our inner cities as if they are a
problem, we need to start looking
at the potential in our inner cities.
The kids that I know and the
families that I know who have been
broken by crime, who have been
broken by drugs are just waiting for
an opportunity, for someone to say,
come on let me give you a hand up.
To say, yes you can go to university,
yes you can make something of
your life, we need to believe in the
kids of our inner cities.
(Dave Sharples, Liverpool Kidz Klub,
Conservative Party Conference in
They are not surrounded by
inspiration everyday, so what
motivates a kid to work if they see
no jobs at the end of it. We teach
them life skills, we teach them that
they have choices.
Leeds Project
The potential of reaching the child,
who is secure in who they are in God,
and have their own faith, and teaching
them how to live, and how to die, and
how to relate and how to act, how to
react, how to cope with life’s storms. If
we can put that into children, then we
have done the job well.
Wes Richards
by the middle of the 19th century
the basic form of the Sunday
School lesson was fairly
regimented and would include
hymn singing, prayer, a short
biblical message, reading, writing
and learning of the catechism.
Cliff (1986, p.96)
I’m gonna jump up and down,
Fight the good fight with all thy
gonna spin right around, gonna
might, Christ is thy strength
praise your Name forever,
and Christ thy right; lay hold
gonna shout out loud,
on life, and it shall be thy joy
gonna deafen the crowd gonna
and crown eternally.
send my praise to heaven
I’ll follow Jesus ‘til the day I drop.
I can do all things through, Christ
who strengthens me When you’ve
got such a lot,
When you’ve got not a lot. What?
Be happy!
He made dogs that point, Pigs
Praise to the Lord, the
that oink, he made dolphin
almighty, the king of
smiles, crocodiles, He made a
zillion things, flies and wings.
He even gave us tongues so
good for licking. And it’s lovely
jubbly, all of God’s creation.
Lovely jubbly, all of God’s
creation, what a wonderful
God we have.
Raikes (Letter to Townley 1783) writes:
I went around to remonstrate with them
on the melancholy consequences that
must ensue from so fatal a neglect of
their children’s morals. They alleged their
poverty rendered them incapable of
cleaning and clothing their children fit to
appear either at school or at church. But
this objection was obviated by a remark
that if they were clad in garb fit to appear
in the streets I should not think it
improper for a school calculated to admit
the poorest and most neglected. All that I
required were clean faces, clean hands,
and hair combed. In other respects they
were to come as their circumstances
would admit.
Bill Wilson (2000, p.30)
These personal visits place
people in someone else’s
world, and provide a
relationship. Personal visits
prevent alienation, prepare
young personalities for
spiritual challenge, and
promote productivity.
Growing churches do have an effective children’s
ministry…because they deliberately see the children’s ministry
which they exercise as being very much part of the mainstream
activity of the church. This integration mechanism of the
children’s ministry with the totality of the church activity is as
important as the quality of the actual ministry itself if growth is to
take place. (Peter Brierley, 2005)
Sunday School
Numbers Attending
Brierley, 2000, p.100
2006, p.121
It is not about forcing children into adult modes of learning or into
modes that demand cognitive processes beyond their abilities,
instead the task is to translate the truths of Christian faith into
terms that can be both understood and experienced by boys and
girls . (Richards, 1993, p.123)
“It is vital to understand their language, beliefs and ideology in
order to penetrate the different world in which children live.”
The Lausanne statement on Child Evangelism (1980)
Professional Teachers
Hymn Singing and Prayer
Rewards, Prizes and Incentives
Connection with Community
Meeting a Social Need (empowering)
Connection with (and part of) Church
Communicating a Christian Message
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