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.
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!
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.