Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teaching Sunday school

Sunday school. It always seems like despite our "best" efforts to come up with an organized curriculum and rotating teaching schedule, Saturday nights (and Sunday mornings!) often consist of last-minute phone calls, cutting out flannel-graph figures, and typing up memory verses. Even with a good plan, the lesson can feel pretty disorganized.

You never know if they're actually learning something.  You just hope and pray. Recently, one of the mothers (herself a Sunday school teacher) came up to me inquiring what the previous lesson had been about. It turned out that her 2 yr old (who usually colors and runs around in the back of the room) had started retelling the contents of the lessons, particularly since we'd been using the flannel-graph.

Whenever it seems like the kids aren't paying attention, I think to myself...they must be hearing, if passively. Oh Lord, please let these words fall on fertile soil! Help them to be active listeners!

When it comes to curriculum, I often disagree with the conclusions made in the Sunday school materials...comments like: Jesus worked hard helping people; therefore Jesus wants you to study hard and get good grades. Or, it's too hard for Jesus to go to all the countries preaching; therefore we need missionaries.

Nevertheless, there are good ideas in there, and this time we were going to talk about missionaries: about the privilege of sharing in the Lord's work, to His glory. read more/-

I had asked one of the mothers to share about her missionary work in another area of Russia as a young lady. We did a little interview with her. I think it's good for the kids to have Russian missionary role models. When we asked them where they would like to serve, they threw a lot of ideas out there that indicated they were thinking more about travel than missions work. So we had to clarify a bit.

Afterwards, we had prayer time. The kids wanted to pray for Finland (not sure why), Tunisia (so there wouldn't be war), and Japan (obvious reasons). We finished praying and one little girl said, "Oh, can we please pray for [city in Uzbekistan] too? The Church there is being persecuted!" She's right, as her family (of Russian ethnicity) is from there and had been involved in an underground church. Difficult times in some ways, but encouraging all the same.


  1. God bless the work you are doing. We never know who's listening, even if by accident. I agree with you on some of the info presented in SS books. They (writers) mean well but sometimes the wrong idea is presented.

  2. Thanks for commenting! You're right, there are good programs out there. I think it's good to have a specific teaching point, and teaching by topic can be interesting. Maybe the danger is in oversimplifying, or taking something out of context. It's interesting observing both in American and Russian teaching materials how the culture is emphasized a little too much instead of using the Biblical context.

  3. It is hard to simplify things so that young children can understand them, but I think it is a temptation to be avoided to present wrong ideas, thinking they can be corrected later, when children are "old enough to understand". One of the most surprising I ran across lately was a video on the Beatitudes that portrayed "Blessed are the Poor" as meaning "Blessed are those ministering TO the poor". What the heck? Yes; the poor being blessed IS a hard concept for children, but no excuse for giving them something completely different than what Jesus said.


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