September 2, 2013

Why I Don't Teach Children's Sunday School

It's that time of year when someone is going to approach you to ask if you'd teach the four-year-olds or the fourth-graders. And I'd like you to think about saying no.

Here (slightly revised from the archives) is Why I Don't Teach Children's Sunday School:

Okay, so I do, actually. Sometimes it’s necessary for the good of the kingdom, but I really try not to teach children’s Sunday school.

And it’s probably not why you think.

I don’t feel overburdened by ministry expectations. I’m qualified to teach it (I have an education degree.) I like teaching it; there’s actually nothing quite like playing Moses to a troupe of preschoolers wandering through the wilderness of church hallways. And I have a good relationship with the children and parents in our church.

Instead, the reason I don’t teach Sunday school is: my own children are in the class, and I want to make sure they also hear the gospel from someone besides me.

I want them know that other people are concerned about their souls.

Especially in a front-and-center ministry family, where the kids get plenty of opportunities to see their parents talking about Christ, our children need to see the power of the gospel in the lives of other adults. I would never want our ministry kids to grow up thinking the gospel was merely part of our job description. Or that we are the only people in the world who care about spiritual things.

Of course, we teach them the Scriptures at home, but I hope they recognize early that they are a vital part of a community of people who all love God’s word. Daily, we press them to trust Christ, but they need that message from others, too.

As the mother of three boys, I'm especially thankful for men who take a moment (or a Sunday school) to speak to my sons about spiritual things. And I pray for more men to volunteer to teach children's classes.

Our children need the whole church to invest in them.

In our church, when children are baptized, all the people of the congregation take a vow to “assist the parents in the Christian nurture of this child.” And if I'm always the Sunday school teacher, I deprive other people of the opportunity to fulfill their vows, use their gifts, and nurture children's hearts.

So, go ahead, say no to teaching Sunday school (or youth group or toddler time or Bible club) and allow someone else to love your child’s soul.

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