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1780 年，主日學之父羅拔力奇（Robert Raikes）在英國推動主日學，實踐了大使命的「教與學」。當時他看見主日有許多童工在街上流連，遂自掏腰包，請一些婦女在主日教導這些童工，讓他們學會基礎知識，也「教導」他們「遵守」主道作主門徒。隨後主日學運動在各國遍地開花，越來越有系統，而對象亦擴展至成年、長者，發展至今已有 240 年。
1883 年，宣信博士尚未創辦宣道會，已先成立宣教訓練學院，把「教與學」的重點結合大使命的「去」，即是去使萬民作主的門徒。此外，他也定期在宣道會刊物撰寫主日學教材，圖文並茂教導宣教的需要。在當時，能善用文字媒體作教導，就是一種創意教學。及至 1980 年，美國宣道會為紀念主日學運動誕生 200 年，在週刊以多篇文章探討主日學的未來，時任宣道會教育部部長有如此睿見：「主日學會越來越電子化。」1 這觀點在當時也是一種新思維。由此可見，宣道會從來不抗拒「創意教與學」，關鍵只在於能否延續宣道會精神，仍把焦點結合大使命之「去」。今天，我們要面對「主日學越來越網絡化」，未來主日學需要更多的更新，但如何「學」得有系統、有焦點，仍需要連結於教會，互相補足。
1 Daryl Dale, "What After 1980? The Sunday school of the future may be in for major changes," The Alliance Witness (Feb 6, 1980): 11.
Online Teaching and Learning: The Future of Sunday School?
Rev Kinia Ng
Advances in technology have enabled us to access Christian courses all over the world using our mobile phones. As such, do we still need to attend Sunday School at church? Ever since the outbreak of the epidemic earlier this year, we suspended all gatherings including the Sunday School. We started to consider teaching and learning online.
No matter what changes there will be in the mode of Sunday School, we need to go back to the Bible and look at how the Lord Jesus sees learning and teaching. The Great Commission comes to my mind: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). The original word for "teach" here appears many times in the life of Jesus in the four gospels. Jesus mainly taught non-believers in the hope that they would become His disciples and "obey" the Word of God. Through His life, Jesus set the example for teaching and obeying the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.
In 1780, Robert Raikes, founder of Sunday School, started promoting Sunday School in Britain, putting into practice the concepts of teaching and learning in the Great Commission. At that time, many underaged workers loitered in the streets. Raikes engaged some women to teach those children basic knowledge on Sunday, paying all the expenses himself. The children were also taught to obey the Word of God and become His disciples. The Sunday School Movement quickly spread to other countries and became better organized. There were also classes for adults and the elderly. It has been 240 years since Sunday School started.
Meanwhile, in 1883 before Dr. A. B. Simpson founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), he first set up the Missionary Training College and integrated teaching and learning with the "go" in the Great Commission – "go and make disciples of all nations." Meanwhile, Dr. Simpson regularly compiled Sunday School teaching material in C&MA publications, teaching the need for mission work in words and pictures. At that time, the use of the print media for teaching was considered creative. Later, in 1980, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Sunday School Movement, the C&MA included a series of articles in its bulletin in which the future development of Sunday Schools was explored. The then C&MA education chief said: "The Sunday School will turn increasingly to electronics." 1 That was new insight at that time. In fact, the C&MA has never resisted creative teaching and learning as long as it can sustain the C&MA emphasis on "go." Today, we see the increasing use of online media in Sunday School. Sunday School will need renewal continually in future. But to be able to learn systematically and with focus, it will still need to be connected with the church so they would complement each other.
The new quarter of the Young Adult and Adult Sunday School (in Chinese) is now open for application. Although only nine courses can be offered online due to the impact of the coronavirus, it is my prayer and hope that with sustained enthusiasm, all of you will be able to grow through teaching and learning in Sunday School with an emphasis to "go" and make disciples of all nations.
1Daryl Dale, "What After 1980? The Sunday school of the future may be in for major changes," The Alliance Witness (Feb 6, 1980): 11.