One of the great joys of teaching or leading a small group is when children ask amazing questions. Many prove easy to answer, but some are very difficult.
At first glance, illustrations in a lesson may seem unnecessary and time-consuming for a teacher, but good illustrations done well can serve as springboards to helping children understand God’s truth.
Think about your or your child’s Sunday school classroom for a moment. What characterizes the overall atmosphere of the classroom from beginning to end?Is the classroom characterized by an atmosphere of serious joy in God through Christ?
In most classrooms, it is highly likely that there are believing and unbelieving children present. Unbelievers are reminded and implored to turn to Jesus as their only hope. Believers are reminded of God’s sure promises that are secured in Jesus and are implored to live a life that is pleasing to Him. Bottom line: We must always keep in mind that we are likely ministering to both the lost and found in our classrooms. We are tasked with evangelizing the lost and discipling the found.
As you have probably gleaned from recent posts, we believe that our classrooms should be structured to maximize two basic things: biblical instruction and spiritual discussion. That said, there are ways and means to do these more effectively. How do you instruct the mind with biblical truth a way that doesn’t simply come across as “dry information”? How do you initiate and foster conversations that really engage the heart and point a child to genuine dependence on Christ?
“Catechizing” is almost exclusively used in reference to the tool by which Christians carefully teach and firmly ground people, including children, in the essential truths of the Christian faith. Thankfully, many churches and parents are diligently and earnestly pursuing this crucial task. But others are a bit more relaxed about it, not seeing an urgency or, perhaps, believing that children and youth should not be weighed down by too much formal instruction and doctrine.
If our goal and heartfelt desire for our students is that they come to know, honor, and treasure God, setting their hope in Christ alone so that they will live as faithful disciples for the glory of God…then we must keep the Bible front and center in all that we do in the classroom!
As a teacher, I really appreciate when students come to Sunday school readily prepared in both body and soul. Many parents are already doing a great job in this regard. But it’s amazing how the little things that are overlooked can cause big disruptions in the classroom: a child who needs a bathroom break during the lesson; an overly tired 10-year-old; a fidgety six-year-old who’s had too much sugar; a child who is anxious because getting ready for church put the whole family on edge; etc. A little foresight and planning will go a long way toward serving your children’s overall experience in the classroom.
Putting Away Fear is a new resource for parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, and counselors who desire not only to change behavior, but to approach the problem of fear from a biblical perspective of heart transformation through “the renewing of the mind” and the power of Christ at work in the heart.
It is fairly simple to encourage children to participate in singing and other outward expressions of praise and doing so is an important part of their biblical education. They are learning the habits and rhythms of the Christian life. But the worship leader should also be imploring, guiding, and encouraging the children toward genuine faith in Christ — making clear that true worship that is acceptable to God can only come about through belief in Christ.