Although more than 300,000 churches offer Sunday school programs that are attended by over 22 million children, Sunday school attendance is declining as of 2005, according to the Barna Group. Factors contributing to plummeting attendance include weekend sports team schedules, limited family time and an overall slump in church attendance.
With churches no longer the social center of many communities, youth-oriented religious programs have to compete with a wide range of activities offered on weekends for children. Sex abuse scandals have also increased parental concerns about procedures for selecting and screening Sunday school teachers, leading to reduced participation. At some churches, shifting agendas have also contributed to a decline in funding for Sunday school programs and child-oriented activities such as Vacation Bible School.