Halloween is fast upon us. In the United States, Halloween now rivals Christmas in the amount of money spent per household. While Covid has served to scale-back many of the usual “trick or treat” rituals, Halloween still is firmly rooted in the culture. As a child, I was one of the many excited, costumed children who went through the neighborhood collecting a sack full of candy. But when I became a parent, my husband and I started asking questions like: "How should we view Halloween from a biblical perspective? What are the historical roots? Is there a way to be a light for the gospel during this time? What might that look like?"
Certainly, no well-meaning Christian parent or teacher would willfully hide the truth from children. However, without realizing it, we can focus on only the parts of a Bible story that are particularly exciting or interesting to children. Or we can put so much focus on the characters and stories that we don’t put enough emphasis on what the story reveals about God and His glory. To guard against this, it is helpful to consider the goal of our instruction. Why should we faithfully impart to our children the testimony that has been entrusted to us?
Well-intentioned parents become overwhelmed with trying to juggle a myriad of other responsibilities, and regular devotions never get off the ground. Some parents desperately want to start a regular habit of devotions but simply feel ill-equipped for the task. Others begin family devotions with eagerness but slowly give up over time when things don’t go as planned.
As a parent and grandparent, there is a special joy that comes from watching your family grow and mature. But amidst all the joys experienced with my grandchildren as they reach various milestones in life, there is a verse that comes to mind that reorients my joy and makes me long and pray for something much deeper for their lives as they grow up…
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children [grandchildren, students] are walking in the truth. (3 John 4)
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.
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?
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.
We must not hide the glory of God from our children “but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” The reason it matters to God that our children hear and remember God’s works is so that they will glorify Him whose way is always perfect, whose word always proves true, and whose steadfast love and faithfulness endures to all generations.
It’s hard to believe how quickly a new school year is approaching. Many churches have been and are continuing to prepare for their fall startup of Sunday school and midweek programs. Ministry leaders have been busy recruiting volunteers to fill various classroom positions. But have your volunteers been inspired with a grand and glorious biblical vision for what they will be doing? Have they been thoroughly equipped and trained for their specific roles? Is there a plan to officially and prayerfully “launch” them into their ministry?