As a Sunday school teacher, I have always ended the school year with mixed emotions: joy at seeing and remembering the grace and goodness of God, knowing that He was at work bringing about growth in teacher and students alike—some children even coming to genuine faith during the year; sadness as I reflect on how much I will miss this group of children I have grown to know and love; and a certain amount of relief as a crazy, busy year draws to an end.
But there may also be a kind of lingering, discouraging doubt…a feeling that your time in children’s ministry has not really been valuable or appreciated by parents or the larger church community. This is not to say that teachers and people who minister to children should be serving for the praise of parents and others! We should have a Colossians 3:23-24 attitude
In college, I knew a lot of really smart, knowledgeable people, but I didn’t come across many wise people. Personally, I’d rather my children and grandchildren have an ounce of biblical wisdom, rather than a ton of worldly knowledge. But then, let’s not set our goal so small…let’s strive to have our children gain a ton of biblical wisdom! How will that happen? Here is a recent post from John MacArthur:
Teaching children the gospel by no means exhausts the parents’ teaching responsibility. Also bound up in the principle of Deuteronomy 6:6–7 is the duty of teaching our children wisdom for life. The gospel is the necessary starting-point, because “the
Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota is truly a memorable place—row after row after row of identical white tomb stones of American veterans. My grandfather is buried there—a World War I veteran. My 92-year-old father will be buried there—World War 2 veteran. My son, if he chooses, could be buried there—a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). My grandfather, father, and son all came home after the war, but many did not. I remember being a “Blue Star mom” while my son was in Afghanistan, and I grieved for those “Gold star moms”—those who had a son killed in the fighting. Those moms will always remember, every single day, the terrible cost their sons paid…and we should remember, too.
Unfortunately, the law of God seems to have fallen on hard times. When some hear the words, “law” or “commands” the words, “legalism” and “moralism” immediately come to mind. Yes, we should be on guard as we teach our children. In the past several decades, children’s Sunday school curricula and other Bible resources tended to promote a kind of Gospel-less moralism. But God’s holy, righteous, and good law and commands were not to blame. Rather, it was a misunderstanding of these in the context of the whole counsel of God, and in light of the Gospel. When asked about the role of the law, the Gospel, and the Christian, R.C. Sproul gave this wonderful summation:
“O how I love your law!” (Ps
Have you ever felt a call or burden to teach the youth in your church? Have you been questioned as to your ability because of your age–too old to relate? Hear these words from Sally Michael in her recent seminar “Teaching Youth and Engaging their Hearts”:
The first year I taught junior high students in my church, someone who realized that I was going to teach youth said to me, “Do you think you can relate to youth?”
Now reading between the lines, I think what this person was saying in a kindly way was…do you realize that you are a beyond middle-aged woman…you don’t speak their language, you don’t know the jargon of youth…in other words, you are just not cool.
[caption id="attachment_6272" align="alignright" width="268"] "John Flavel" by James Hopwood, ca. 1752-1819, printmaker, Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection[/caption]
Last week, Tim Challies posted “8 Items for Christian Parents to Ponder.” Here is his very intriguing introduction to the post:
The other day, the old Puritan John Flavel took me out back and slapped me around for a while (metaphorically, of course). I have been reading his classic work The Mystery of Providence and he dedicates the second chapter to an explanation of why we need to worship God for his kind providence in our childhood…
Along the way he includes a brief but powerful section in which he exhorts parents in the duties they have in raising
Here is a great quote to ponder:
The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The great teacher demonstrates.
The superior teacher inspires.
—William Arthur Ward
(Image courtesy of lobster20 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)
A while back I read an article about embracing the use of technology in the preschool classroom at church. One idea related to the frightened, clingy child who doesn’t want to leave his parent and go into the classroom on Sunday morning. The high-tech solution for the teacher? Try pulling out your tablet (or smartphone) and show the preschooler a Bible-related app in order to woo the reluctant child away from the parents and into the classroom. Presto, the power of microcircuits to the rescue!
Well, I think I prefer the method that Mrs. Kanowitz used on my almost 2-year-old granddaughter last week. In a sense, it was high-tech, but the “circuitry” involved was much more powerful. Here is what happened:
As little Elizabeth was taken down the hallway toward her classroom, she did
Quiz time for parents: Who exerts the greatest influence in your child’s life? How is that influence serving to shape your child’s life? Now read these important thoughts from John MacArthur from his article, “What Influence do You have on Your Children?”:
Christian parents today desperately need to own this simple principle. Before the throne of God we will be held accountable if we have turned our children over to other influences that shape their character in ungodly ways. God has placed in our hands the responsibility of bringing our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and we will give account to God for our stewardship of this great gift. If others have more influence on our children than we, we are culpable, not excusable,
The pictures and reports from Nepal are truly heart-wrenching! (Read Desiring God’s post, “Pray for Nepal.”) There’s so much death, destruction, pain, and suffering. As Christians, how should we to respond to those in desperate need? What kind of heart response and practical actions would demonstrate the love of Christ? How can we teach and train our children toward Christ-like compassion? In order to help parents explore these important questions with your children, we would like to offer you a free lesson from our curriculum To Be Like Jesus. It provides biblical texts, simple visuals, family-friendly