We are having tons of fun these days planning our daughter’s graduation party. We decided to turn it into a huge thank you party for all of the people who have helped us raise our daughter over the years. We are inviting everyone from her “aunties” to the sweet lady at the cleaners that always asks about her activities and buys Girl Scout cookies to our neighbors and the people at Church who have had a hand in her spiritual growth. Don’t tell my husband, but it’s a long list!
I am a strong proponent of learning from the mistakes and lessons of others rather than insisting on making the same mistakes yourself, “just to see”. Probably one of the least heeded scriptures in the New Testament is Titus 2:3-5. It admonishes the older women to teach the younger, with the implication that the younger women are listening. Yet if you ask older women in most churches, they will tell you the younger women routinely dismiss any wisdom they have to share as old-fashioned or uninformed.
Teaching a Sunday School class can be the most rewarding and the most frustrating volunteer position in the Church. Most of us spend countless hours and a good bit of our own money trying to make the Bible and God’s principles understandable to the children we teach. The hugs and the eyes that light up when they understand an important Bible truth are balanced out by the child who attends sporadically or comes in after we have just taught the most important part of the lesson. Sometimes it is hard to know if you are impacting the spiritual lives of these precious little ones at all.
First let me reassure you that you are having a much greater impact than you will probably ever know. My third grade Sunday School teacher is probably no longer alive, but I will never forget memorizing very long passages of scripture in her class. One of my high school teachers forever changed my perspective on the meaning of “rich” and the responsibilities God gave to us with our material blessings.
I have a confession to make. When our Bible classes at Church let out, I am starving. We have our classes after worship and when classes finish, I am ready for lunch. Countless delays gathering everyone and everything that needs to leave the building means we are often racing to get food in me before I get really cranky! Once the food gets on the table, what happened in Bible class is often forgotten amidst stories of the funny or interesting things that happened at Church.
As parents, we often miss out on using one of our biggest allies in raising our children to be faithful Christians – our child’s Bible class teachers. We rarely know what Bible story was taught in class and if we do, we may have no idea what applications were made to the story. In larger congregations, we may barely know the name of our child’s teacher, much less anything about him.
Being a Sunday School teacher for children and teens is a special calling. There are many wonderful Christian men and women who spend countless hours and a good bit of their own money to try and provide your child with the most meaningful Bible class experience possible.
Sadly, there are also those who are guilted into the position. These well meaning, but often unmotivated individuals may barely scan a teacher’s manual at the last possible second and pray the worksheets provided will last the entire class – if they let the kids talk awhile before starting.
Sunday School (in some churches there are also week night classes once a week) was probably created to give children some additional time each week in Bible study. Most classes also tried to make some attempt to begin teaching children to apply biblical concepts to their every day world. It was never meant to substitute for family or independent Bible study. The classes were a way for churches to provide parents with extra support in their efforts to raise godly children.
As a mom of young children, many of your crisis times seem to hit during the middle of the night. Often the crisis is a sick child or a young one with bad dreams. Sometimes the crisis is only the anxiety that hits you once you finally have the time to lay still in a quiet, dark house. I was blessed to have relatives and strong Christian mentors nearby, some of whom accepted late calls. What about those times when I didn’t want to bother anyone? What about women who had no close Christian relatives or friends to turn to for godly advice? How would they get the mentoring they needed as quickly as they needed it?
Debbie Morris wrote The Blessed Woman with this woman in mind. At one point in her life, she was that woman who wanted godly mentoring, but had no resources. She turned to the women in scripture to answer the questions she had regarding living life as a woman of God.