Manual What I Learned In Sunday School: Volume I

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Despite swearing off Sunday school the year before, I found myself leading a Sunday school of ten children. But I also know that the wisdom gleaned from others and the vast reservoirs of patience on the part of parents and children alike made a difference. For my husband, Thomas, this meant stepping up his involvement with the preschool affiliated with the church and working the drop-off and pick-up carpool line a few times a week as a way to get to know the parents and their kids.

We also began to host a welcome dinner for preschool families, serving them and their children dinner. Although in our case it did eventually net us new attendees, extending ecclesial hospitality to children is something adults are called to do not just for the sake of church growth and not just for the sake of the children but also for our own growth in holiness. In his homilies on the Book of Matthew, St. John Chrysostom argues that the disciples first turn the children away because of their preoccupation with preserving personal dignity.

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Children are noisy, dirty, and, as anybody who has ever hauled a screaming two-year-old out of the grocery store knows, can make us look like fools. We need to learn from their transparent hunger for physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment. Accordingly, instructing children in Sunday school teaches us how to become the type of disciples Jesus calls us to be.

Sunday school does not exist as an end in itself.

Sunday School Teacher's Guide - God's book the Bible

Its purpose is to prepare for worship, not replace it. It is based on the theological conviction that, in the gathering of a worshiping community, we not only learn about Jesus but actually encounter him as the resurrected Lord. This applies as much to kids as it does to adults. And Sunday school is meant to be a conduit back into that worship space, not a replacement.

At our church, for example, I found that the more Sunday school explained what was going on in the worship service and the more opportunities children had to be involved in the service as well as Sunday school, the more engaged they were in both settings. This was brought home to me when I realized that one of the three-year-olds had memorized the eucharistic liturgy that we sing in worship and was using snippets of the liturgy to answer questions in Sunday school.

Her worship experience informed and enriched her classroom learning. And her time in Sunday school helped her understand exactly what was happening when she returned to worship for the Eucharist. Just as we sometimes neglect to teach children how and why to worship, our pedagogical focus is often limited to teaching them morals and sentimentality without sufficient engagement with doctrine or dogma.

For example, one of the most successful lessons we ever had was provided by a Bible scholar from our congregation who came in to teach the kids about Bible translation. The children loved exploring something new and were excited to learn how to write Hebrew words. For the same reason, the classes I taught on theological doctrines tended to go much better than I imagined. The students had something new to think about, and learning more about Christian doctrine helped them to connect with lessons and stories they had been taught in other classes and contexts.

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My own pedagogical transparency mattered, too. There were several times that student questions went beyond my own biblical literacy or theological knowledge. Rather than cover up my ignorance, I let them know that I was planning on finding answers from people who knew more than I did. By modeling intellectual humility and an openness to exploring new questions, I hoped to prepare them to become lifelong students of theology. And by exposing them to doctrine early, I hoped to excite them about the deep and enduring integration of faith, learning, and life.

If children are the future of the church, how can we offer them less than the very best of the treasure we have received? I would be remiss if I failed to issue a warning. But I very quickly had to rethink my views.

The burden arises from the spiritual dependence of the children on your teaching. Apart from parents hopefully , your voice is one of the first to proclaim the gospel to a child. However, the privilege of doing it well is equally as great as the possible punishment for getting it wrong.

Teaching Sunday school is not the last or lowest option for service but instead might be the place where our mandate to carry out the Great Commission is most fruitful—for ourselves and for the children we teach. Elisabeth Rain Kincaid is an assistant professor of moral theology at the Aquinas Institute of Theology.

Why We’re Not Interested in Your Sunday School

Her research focuses on questions of moral formation, the development of virtue, and the intersection of law, business, and theology. A different version of this piece originally appeared at Covenant , the weblog of The Living Church magazine.

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We sat on itchy wicker chairs around a large table, as my Sunday school teacher led us songs that involved movements. I remember her smiling as she handed out Sunday school books. They looked like serious business but they smelled like peppermint. There was a chart with all of our names on it with neat little boxes waiting for us to earn stickers. If we earned a row of stickers, then we got a special treat it turned out that everyone got a treat but who cares it was Chocolate Fudge Cake at the end of the quarter.

I Am a Child of God

The first thing your Sunday school teacher instructs you to do is to come every Sunday. Not just to get your sticker, but it is written:. There are many benefits to attending church and here is a link to learn more about church. It turns out that it is always good because when we all give a little then we can have a lot to do something for the Kingdom of God.

Every Sunday we recited our memory verses for which we would get a gold sticker on a chart.

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