Teaching in the Church

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at Teaching in the Church.
I have served as Assistant Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Teacher, and Assistant Junior Church. I have known good teachers, not so good teachers, and others. So I think I can speak with a little authority.
Is Teaching Sunday School a Calling?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: When you consider that you are teaching God’s Word to the future of your church, state, and nation then it is a calling. When you consider that God gave us the Inspired Word to be taught then it is a calling? When you consider that adults today are ignorant of the Bible because they either had no teacher or poor teachers then it is a calling.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
Does God’s Word really tell us to teach our children the Bible?
Consider this: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Dt. 11:18-19.
This is what the Bible says! You be the judge.
Calling People Ignorant isn’t Nice?
Read what I said again. I said, “When you consider that adults today are ignorant of the Bible” and I say it again and again. Being ignorant and being ignorant of the Bible are two different things. Today people are not taught the Bible often enough or well enough.
I love the Bus Ministry but the Bus Ministry exists in large part because parents aren’t taking their kids to church. Both parents and children need to learn the Word of God. It is true that Sunday School isn’t mentioned in the Bible, but the command to teach your children is commanded. Furthermore, when a parent sends a child to Sunday School and stays home himself or herself the message is: Sunday School is for kids. No it is for adults also.
We Christians have lost a great many liberties since the 1950’s. Why? Well the Bible was removed from the schools, parents stayed home instead of going to church, and children were taught that the Word of God is nonsense.
People are in desperate need to learn the Bible; most of them just don’t know that. God calls men and women to teach His Word because Biblical Knowledge is needed in our land. It is an important calling.
Does Teaching the Bible Require Being Taught to Teach?
Again I would answer yes. I don’t mean formal college or even Bible School. I learned through two different methods.

  • I took a study course by mail
  • I sat as an assistant watching and learning from a Teacher

Then I made myself available to be used. I didn’t insist, beg, or bargain. I simply let the Minister of Education know in one church and the pastor know in another church that I was able. Then I left it in the Lord’s hand.
What are the Four Greatest Truths You Learned as a Teacher?

  • Read and know the Bible not just the lesson
  • Tolerate children moving a little (it’s amazing what they hear when you think they’re not listening)
  • Teach the Bible (I like having the Bible visibly in my hand)
  • Pray for your class.

What About Connecting With the Children?
Unfortunately kids are being taught that Sunday School is a time of play rather than a time to learn God’s Word. I try to encourage new teachers to emphasize teaching more. Why? Because you only get those kids for one hour and possibly another in Junior Church. That’s two hours a week and the world gets them the rest of the time!
It’s not about class outings. There is nothing wrong with class outings but they shouldn’t be the motivating factor to the point that if the teacher doesn’t have a class outing the child thinks he/she doesn’t care.
I’m old school. When I taught Sunday School, I sent cards to the boys (their name and address). I think that still works because everyone wants to get mail addressed to them (other than bills, etc.). Add to that a personal visit to their home. Their teacher came to their home to see them! That makes a positive impression on their minds and their parents minds.
What About Class Discipline?
I’m for it. However I don’t insist on the children not looking around, not speaking, and not being fidgety. My rule is that their eyes should be on me and they should not be keeping someone else from learning. In other words, I’m flexible. But I will call the student down if he or she is disturbing the class.
What About Treats? Is That Bribery?
I have read and heard people say that offering treats  so Children will come or when they come listen is Christian Bribery. Bribery involves getting someone to do something wrong. So it is not Christian Bribery.
Treats are excellent tools to help children be motivated to do right; namely to come to Sunday School and pay attention in class. It’s a teaching tool.
One of the best I ever saw was when the teacher had a treasure chest full of candy. He then locked the chest. For a student to be able to get candy out of the chest, they had to participate and answer correctly questions. This qualified them to reach into a jar and grab some keys. Because of the narrow opening they could only get a few keys at a time. Most of the keys were fake, but a few would actually unlock the treasure chest.
It worked!
Then Teaching is a Calling?
Definitely! And like any calling you want to apply yourself and be the best teacher you can be. That involves:

  • Dressing in a way you honor God and Church
  • Studying your Bible faithfully
  • Practicing your lesson
  • Loving your kids
  • Being tolerant of the fact they are kids
  • Teaching consistently
  • Repeating a truth probably three or more times (repetition is a great teacher)

One last point, your church is probably looking for people right now willing to teach. A willing heart is necessary. And don’t go into teaching saying I’ll teach here but not there. My first teaching assignment was teaching 6th Grade Boys. I had no experience but they desperately needed a teacher. The job was given to me and I loved it!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

First Call To Service

The title of this blog is very specific for a reason. It is to avoid confusion with the First Call on everyone’s life: To get saved by trusting Jesus Christ Who shed His blood for us! Then there is the Call to be Baptized by immersion. Once saved, be baptized.

But today I am writing about service. And I am assuming that you are saved and that you have obeyed your Savior and been baptized.

You are probably very much aware of Ephesians 2:8-9 where you find that salvation is a gift of grace and not of works. But then we find that once saved a Christian is expected to work. I refer you to Ephesians 2:10:

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

There are other verses encouraging, even commanding Christians to work, but this verse should be sufficient for any born-again believer!

How Can You Know the Call of God?

Christians are called in a variety of ways and areas of service. In my case I was first called to serve God in the Sunday School. I was a student in a Young Adult class knowing nothing about teaching, but one day I realized something. Our teacher had to dig deeper into God’s Word so that he could teach us. He actually learned more and imparted only a portion of what he learned.

My first call to service, therefore, came as a result of my deep desire to learn God’s Word. But I knew nothing of teaching. So I went to the Minister of Education and told him I thought God wanted me to teach.

He didn’t hesitate, but immediately asked me, “Would you be interested in teaching 6th grade boys?” To be honest that scared me. I felt more comfortable talking to adults. But I immediately knew this was God’s call, so I said yes.

He suggested that I take a course (by mail) from Moody Bible Institute. I did as he suggested and that Fall I started teaching. Since that beginning I have served in a variety of areas in three different churches.

But the important thing here is that I sensed God’s call on my life, I sought the wisdom of an associate pastor, I acted on his advice, and began serving. All this even though I knew nothing, not even the basics of teaching, until I received instruction from Moody.

That proved to be my first step in serving God. Now I am using my talents as a writer to serve God, but I still am involved in the Sunday School ministry. God took me and built upon my early works to where I am today. And He is still working on me.

How Do You Prepare For That Call?

The short answer is: make yourself willing to serve. It is not how much you know but how much you are will to do what He wants you to do! No job is too small or too big.

The longer answer is to first be obedient. That includes tithing, attending as many church services as possible, Bible study, and prayer. Seek God and ask Him to reveal what He wants you to do (which may be totally opposite what you want to do). Go to your pastor and tell him you want to serve. It’s OK to mention areas of interest, but be open to his suggestions.

An example of this in my life came recently when our pastor was restructuring the Bus Ministry. I was a helper on Saturdays working with a bus driver and visiting the bus route. But pastor broke us up and assigned us different responsibilities. In my case he asked if I’d be willing to visit people who had missed church or Sunday School? I said yes and, with my wife, began visiting. Already this ministry has expanded to the point where we call on absentees, the sick, and the new (prospects). Since I have been in the soul winning ministry from almost the beginning of my Christian walk, I find this exciting.

Warning: Don’t presume that because you may sense a call to be a preacher or evangelist that you should immediately start there. Just as I needed to learn how to teach (and for that matter how to be a soul winner), you need to do the little things (see my blog on Christian Service and The Little Things). Getting ahead of God can cause problems down the road (read the story of Jacob and Esau in Gen. 27:1-46 and how Rebekah got ahead of God – we are still suffering the consequences).

How you respond to that first call to service may very well set the pattern for the rest of your life. Respond rightly and God will build upon it. There is no telling what He will do with you!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Writing As a Christian Service

Although we are in the midst of a series on Christian Service I thought it would be good to introduce a new series called Writing as a Christian Service. This new series will appear somewhat randomly, probably after the second or third blog of my regular series. With that in mind here is Writing as a Christian Service (we will return to our current series, Called to Serve, with our next blog).

Today we deal with the concept of Christians writing as a Service! Authorship covers many genres and categories within each genre. The concept of writing can be reduced to: writing from a Christian viewpoint.

What do I mean by Christian viewpoint?

Basically this involves the tenor of your writing. In my case I write novels that are based on Bible stories. There are such books out there that are based on Jewish or Christian views. Obviously, mine is Christian. My books may or may not be based on the Bible but all will be characterized by a Christ-centered theme. By that I mean that the reader will come across scripture pertaining to salvation. It will be a theme that runs through the entire story.

Why do I write with a Christian viewpoint?

The reasons are twofold. First, the Bible stories are true events, not children’s stories. They are about real people and real events. The stories are meant for people of all ages. And they are written to instruct not entertain!

God is not in the entertainment business. Each of His stories is meant to teach or drive home a point. A good example is the story of Noah and the Ark. This has been widely viewed as a story for children. However, the story has very little entertainment value as written. But it is highly instructive and teaches us about God’s love and provision.

My job is to take that story and weave in material that transforms it from its instructive nature to an exciting, action-based novel that awakens the imagination of the reader without losing the instructive side. Judging by my readers’ comments I have been successful!

Secondly, my job is to put God on display. The Bible already does this with great effect. So it is not as difficult as it seems except in those situations where the Bible is silent within the story, but comments on it later on. As an author I can lift those comments from the future Bible sections and insert them into the story itself. I do this with actual quotes or an imaginative conversation that is true to Biblical context.

But it is not just to put God on display. It is also to enable my readers to see and feel His love and power. I can think of no greater compliment than to learn that my novel has so impressed someone that he/she desires to read the Bible!

So in general, my Christian viewpoint is to relate Biblical stories that emphasize God’s love and power in an entertaining manner that both uplifts and convicts.

Your Christian viewpoint might be a little different. It doesn’t have to be Bible stories for example. Why not share your viewpoint. You can use the comment section or write me at information@rfrederickriddle.com.

The next blog on this subject will look at writing as a calling.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to information@RFrederickRiddle.com.