A History of Sunday Software

Our software can now be downloaded for free at Rotation.org by the supporting members of Rotation.org and shared within their church family. A membership there costs $45 and would let you download all 18 of our software titles for free.

Scroll down to learn more about us and our “closing.”

Sunday Software’s owner, President and chief raconteur was and is Neil MacQueen (me), a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA), Sunday School teacher, curriculum writer, and computer geek. For 20+ years Sunday Software was my livelihood, passion, and “validated” inter-denominational ministry (as they say in my denomination).

I started Sunday Software in 1996 to be an independent, ecumenical company focused on Bible software for children’s Christian education. I originallly thought we’d be carrying and supporting other companies’ software, but quickly realized that if you want it done your way, do it yourself, So we created 18 of our own software programs! …and featured the best of what other Christian software developers had to offer.


About Our Journey and “Closing”

Sunday Software has closed its “virtual” retail door and donated all its software to the supporting members of www.Rotation.org, a terrific non-profit Sunday School ministry which I helped found in 1997 and where I continue to serve as Lead Writer. See all 18 titles and get their teaching docs in Rotation.org’s Software Forum.

In 1991 I began experimenting with computer software in Sunday School at the church where I served as Assoc. Pastor, the Presbyterian Church of Barrington. We had created the Rotation Model for Sunday School and were fishing around for another type of workshop that would excite the kids. A member of our church suggested computers because his kids loved them. I didn’t own one and only used one in the office for wordprocessing, but I was intrigued so we forged ahead. Keep in mind that in 1991 most church offices and families DID NOT HAVE personal computers. We were really “out there” but almost immediately I saw the attraction. As word spread about the Rotation Model so did the word about teaching with computers, and pretty soon I was writing articles and leading seminars on the subject.

By 1995, the interest had grown so much that I realized I needed to move my software evangelism out of the church office, so I made plans to hire a friend to staff a phone number and mail out newsletters. To fund it, we were going to sell some software that a developer was happy to supply to us on commission. Unfortunately, my friend took another job and I suddenly found myself doing most of the “Sunday School Software Ministries” work in the evenings from my home (with the help of my kids and wife). It started to take off, but then I was asked by my church to step into the coming gap being created by our Senior Pastor’s impending retirement –and I knew I couldn’t do both. So… after a lot of prayer and conversation, I turned in my resignation, moved the family back to Columbus Ohio our hometown, and started working at Sunday Software full time –hoping that it would eventually create a salary for me. To help spread the word, I began a vigorous seminar ministry –traveling the US and Canada to talk about the Rotation Model and computers in Christian Education. I also published a book on computers in CE with Augsburg and a book about the Rotation Model with Presbyterian Publishing.

In 2001, I started designing my own software (the kind I wanted to teach with) and over the next 7 years produced 18 different titles. Things were going well but I was burning out, and then I started to face the prospect of rebuilding all our software for both newer computer specs and tablet and phones which were becoming “the next big thing.” I ran the numbers and it was going to cost a fortune that I did not have, so I put development on hold hoping for the best. However, the problem with developing for phones and tablets is that you can’t do some of the cool stuff we had done on PCs. And more challenging was that they change the specs and operatings systems MUCH faster on these new devices than they ever did on PC. A program made for Windows XP still works in Windows 10, for example, which allows you to get your development money back over many years. But if you develop for phones and tablets, you have a year or two TOPS before you have to redevelop, and the Christian education software market just isn’t big enough to support that kind of constant redevelopment. This simple fact caused MOST Christian software developers to go out of business. We outlasted them all in fact, but this reality also set the clock ticking on our own company as well.

In 2014, I took a part-time job as an Interim Pastor, and then in 2015, Rotation.org came calling –asking me to return to the website I had created in an active role as their webmaster and Lead Writer. As those hours grew, my Sunday Software time began to shrink, and by 2018-19 we had all but closed up shop –even though all 18 of our own titles STILL worked on today’s computers (a fact I am proud of) and we still had thousands of churches using our programs on Sunday morning.

For over two decades we produced more different kinds of Bible software titles than any other publisher and stayed in business longer than any other Christian software publisher. I’ve worked with over a dozen talented multimedia and software engineers, and staff. It’s been a fantastic run and we have been blessed to support tens of thousands of Sunday Schools over the years. But there is a time and season for every purpose under heaven.

It had always been a dream of mine to be able to give away our software, and so we have given our software to the supporting members of www.Rotation.org — people who care about creative Sunday School and not the “same old” Sunday School resources. We’ve also “releasing” the licensing restrictions to Sunday Software’s customers so that you can install the software you’ve purchased from us on as many PCs in your church as needed and share the software with your church families for in-home use. (The software may not be publicly distributed.)

When I started Sunday Software LITERALLY in my basement, I didn’t know if it would work. Quite a few people thought I was crazy, and some even said I was “elitist.” They said, “churches can’t afford computers,” and “kids don’t learn from screens.” I’m happy to say that 20+ years of resourcing all types of churches with our software proved them wrong. However, when the tech world began shifting toward cellphones and tablets and away from PCs, the cost of redeveloping for small screen systems proved prohibitive and a fool’s errand. The paucity of Christian “apps” for kids proves the sad point. The Christian publishing world is still stuck on paper.

When I posted my software for free downloading at Rotation.org, I also updated ALL the Teaching Guides for our software programs and posted them in the public software forum at Rotation.org. Those forums also have links to lesson plans I’ve written for all our programs, and tech tips in “readme” files with each download.

Though our production time has passed, our software is still available and still a blast to teach with. And there are other things you can do with computers and online content to enliven your teaching and students –we talk about that over at Rotation.org.

It has been a blast and a blessing. Thank you for being part of my story.

P.S. I’ve had a running joke on various anniversaries to publish a photo of “what Sunday Software has done to me.” Below is my last update. Please be advised this is not an obituary. 

Neil MacQueen is an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUSA), husband, father, and now grandfather. He grew up in Columbus Ohio, and has lived in Louisville Kentucky, Jamestown New York, Chicago Illinois, St Croix USVI, Venice Florida, Tampa Florida, and Westerville Ohio.

Author: Neil

I'm Neil MacQueen, a Presbyterian minister (PCUSA). For 24 years I owned and operated Sunday Software at www.sundaysoftware.com. A few years ago I shut down the site and donated all my software to Rotation.org. I am also the founder and webmaster of Rotation.org, a non-profit Sunday School resource ministry run by a group of volunteers.

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