Many of us are richly blessed to have gone to Sunday school since childhood. We expect students to file out to their classes and teachers to take their places, Sunday after Sunday. Is it accomplishing what it should?
Recently, a dad took his young son to class for his first time. The dad ended up staying because of his son’s tears. He now comes back from Sunday school with a beaming face and a verse to show his dad. The dad felt very blessed to observe two teachers doing a good job of controlling and teaching a Bible story to God’s little people.
How can we maintain an effective Sunday school?
Vision. Sunday school has been handed to us. Many of us did not work for it, and therefore we are prone to appreciate it less than those that began the effort. With a vision for group Bible study, we will show a strong level of commitment to Sunday school. With a vision of Sunday school, there is a burden that eternal truths are being taught to every class in the most effective way.
Teachers, don’t just plod through, eager to hear the bell ring. There are truths that students need to learn and connect to. Be most interested in getting truth through to students. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psa 119:130). To give the light of the eternal Word and help others understand it is very important. It is more important than having the grass cut perfectly and the car shined for Sunday.
Prayer. Have you ever shared “Sunday school” for a prayer meeting request? Why don’t we? We certainly should be praying regularly at home and church for the Sunday school hour. We need God’s blessing on the many hours the teachers prepare. We need students that welcome the entrance of the Light into their hearts. We believe the Holy Spirit is the behind-the-scenes operator of meaningful Sunday school classes; therefore we should never cease to pray.
Preparation. “Work as if it all depends on you; pray as if it all depends on God.” We are grateful for God’s goodness in helping teachers and preachers that get themselves into a study time crunch. But constant study crunches can become a bad habit. Teachers should prepare early, perhaps making a copy of the lesson early in the week and taking it with them through the day. This may actually help us connect Bible truth to daily life. Superintendents and devotional leaders should be fair with teachers and give sufficient time for them to share their prepared lessons.
Participation. The dad in the preschool class observed some very willing participants and others shyly silent. Some of those traits likely will follow them up to the adult class. A teacher should attempt to draw out the quiet ones. They have some worthwhile thoughts and answers, too. Yet, we need to accept silent but involved students—involved because they are present, their lessons are filled in, and they give good attention.
As parents, let’s give attention to our children’s Sunday school lessons, perhaps having one read his lesson for family devotions and doing the answers together. Proactive involvement communicates our commitment to the Sunday school effort.
Reverence. While behavior issues will challenge us at times, we need to keep the bar high. Parents should welcome any feedback from the teachers. Children dressing up for church will aid their behavior. This communicates that this is not play time. If Sunday morning is constantly high stress to get to church on time, will it not affect “school time”? Having extra time at home and extra time at church before starting time will aid our Sunday school goals and our whole worship experience.
An ancient proverb states. “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, but involve me and I understand.” Our goal of “school” on Sunday is to provide learning that brings understanding of the eternal Word of God. This will produce a change in student’s lives. When this happens, Sunday school is effective and God is glorified.
~ Leola, PA