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Several of us have been having an email conversation about a "unique" description and set of goals for Sunday School. It seems like such an obvious question and answer,
--but try being concise and differentiating from other children's ministry efforts!

Here's a set of "starter ideas" ... One would guess that specific goals need to be added.

I invite you to post your own reflections. More so, I invite you to do this exercise with your pastor and volunteers.


Sunday School Defined

1. Sunday School is a place and time where God's children learn they are loved by God and the people of God through the warm fellowship, and inviting and creative study of the Bible.

2. Sunday School is the place where we teach Bible stories to student in such memorable and positive ways that they become life-long lessons unfolding their meaning as the student grows, -drawing them closer to God and the people of God.

3. Sunday School is a creative, inviting course of basic training for young Christians --learning about God's love, God's plan, and God's expectations of his people.

The Goal of Sunday School 


1. Raising up children in the knowledge of the Bible and love of God, and become full participants in congregational life.


2. Surrounding children with a faith family that knows them, cares for them, and continues to share with them.


3. Providing them with a basic understanding of most of the major stories of the Bible, and in particular, the story of Jesus.



Hope these get you off to a good start.

<><Neil MacQueen

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Worm
Original Post

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Church school exists to equip people of all ages with a variety of tools necessary to bring them closer to God - be they Bible stories, spiritual disciplines, memory verses, faith practices, etc.
We have used our baptismal vows to underscore the congregation's commitment to children. Our statement is:

The purpose of Children's Ministry at our church is to help children come to know, to love, and to serve God as revealed in Jesus Christ. We especially seek to assist our congregation in fulfilling the promise we make at each baptism:
"We, the people of this church, promise to tell this child the good news of the gospel, to help this child know all that Christ commands, and, by our fellowship, to strengthen this child's family ties with the household of God."
We use "Locate, Train, and Release" as our mission statement. Meaning you must locate the children then train them in the biblical values then release them into their own ministry!
Our Children's Ministry purpose statement (which includes Sunday school of course) is that we exist to:

Bring kids together to learn to praise God, care for others, and tell their world about Jesus!

Jan @ First Pres. Napa, CA
I like the phrase I found on the ELCA website. Something along the lines of "To give youth spiritual roots so that they can make sense out of life and respond to its circumstances."
We've been working on our mission statement lately. Here's what we've got so far:

Mission of CE Children
"The mission of CE children is to provide creative and interesting educational programs for our children such that they begin to build a strong faith foundation of knowing God, loving God and serving God. CE programs will encourage depth of understanding of basic Bible concepts, beliefs and make connections to the child's life today. We will create an exciting and inviting environment that is teacher-friendly and draws children and their families to the church on a regular basis."

If you pick this mission statement apart, phrase by phrase, you will see the deliberate focus and emphasis that we are striving to attain eg. "serving God" = emphasis on mission, "depth of understanding" = more than just the Bible story facts but how is it relevant?, "teacher friendly" = creative curriculum, portable centers for the preschool, lesson plans etc, "children and their families" = supporting the child in the home, "regular basis" = committed SS followers, regular attendance

I could go on, but you see what I mean. From this we hope to put some specific objectives together for the
  • Offer an active Christian parenting course to support the child in the home
  • incorporate 5 mission projects into our rotation lessons for the year

    Any comments are welcome.... Catherine
  • I'd like to see us go-round again on this topic and ask people to specifically address SUNDAY SCHOOL as opposed to general goals and definitions for "Children's Ministry."

    I'm interested in what we can say is "unique" about what we do on Sunday MORNING. 

    <>< Neil



    During a sermon about Zaccheus it dawned on me....


    Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Worm
    Disciplship is a word not used very much today and seem to be avoided because it seeks committment. Sunday School is a tool that God can use to teach discipleship and committment at an early age. We must teach children that Jesus called disciples not just leaners. The doers of the word were called disciples. "I will make you fishers of men" should be the goal of every church and Sunday School class.
    this is what we use - I put this on the top of our monthly newsletter insert devoted completely to the workshops (I "borrowed" this from somewhere - if anyone recognizes it I apologize for using it but we like it)

    "The Mission Statement for the Workshop Rotation Model: to provide a Christian education program that will further faithfulness to Christ through creation of apropriate stimulatiing environments for learning that will increase retention of the main concept of the story."

    Have you thought about writing your mission statement in terms of outcomes?

    Children will be engaged and enthusiastic about learning the Bible.
    The children of our church will acquire basic Biblical literacy.
    The church will provide teaching venues that meet the needs of children with a variety of different learning styles.
    Children will enter confirmation prepared with an emerging understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

    And then my other question is it really so bad that your mission statement could cover other Sunday School programs as well? I love Rotation, but I presume that the way we present material to children 30 years from now will be very different from today. We don't want to set ourselves up as the new Orthodoxy that our grandchildren will have to fight to change.

    Outcomes (goals) don't change, but methods do -- even the coolest methods I've ever seen.

    Peace, Lisa
    It is true that our different programs that fall under "children's ministry" have different goals and missions. The mission or goal statement for children's choir is much different than our goals for sunday school (ie. our choir goals are more worship focused, and sunday school goals more Bible learning focused).

    Sunday School Mission Statement: To create an environment where a love for learning the Bible and it's principles is fostered, which leads to a deeper love relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

    Because kids learn in different styles, they will learn to "love learning" if they experience it within their "style". For this reason, we include workshops and activities that incorporate visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning.

    The focus here is on fostering that "love for learning". To so many kids today learning is boring and stale. We have to overcome those attitudes and teach our kids to love learning, especially when it comes to God and his Word.
    Moved from help I'm new.....

    Mission Statement Ideas

    "Humble Servant of the WoRM"
    posted September 17, 2002

    What kind of mission statement are you referring to? For the congregation or for your CE program?
    If your congregation already has a mission statement, perhaps there is a way to incorporate and/or adapt it to reflect what you hope to accomplish in your CE program.

    Instead of the phrase "mission statement" it might help you to think of 'Statement of Purpose". What do you want to do? With whom? Why? And when you do it, what will be the result? How will people be changed?
    If your purpose is to have all of the children memorize the 10 Commandments by grade 3, say that.

    In general though, a mission statement is not that detailed or specific.

    If you want to be more specific with goals and objectives for each age/grade level, that would be something that happens after a mission statement is created.

    I think one purpose of a good mission statement is that it can act as the yardstick by which you measure and evaluate how things are going in your ministry. If one of the pieces of a mission statement states that "we will grow missionaries and send them across the world to preach" you can then ask, how many did we send this year? How many are almost ready? How many are wanting to prepare to go? If your answer is "75 out of 100" you are doing what you set out to do. If your answer is none, there is a point of evaluation and taking a good look.

    Molly Baker
    'Exchange WoRM'
    posted September 18, 2002

    I read the following prayer as a devotion at one of our Children's Ministry meetings and it was the the consensus of the group to make it our mission statement. It should be credited to the book Guide My Feet by Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.

    Dear God, I thank You for the gift of this child to raise, this life to share, this mind to help mold, this body to nurture, and this spirit to enrich.

    Let me never betray this child's trust, dampen this child's hope or discourage this child's dreams.

    Help me dear God to help this precious child become all You mean him to be.

    Let Your grace and love fall on him like gentle breezes and give him inner strength nad peace and patience for the journey ahead.

    We tweaked it to be collective and interchanged genders. We have it on our bulletin board now.

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