This week we start a brand new study lesson in Sunday School. It begins with, “God has an eternal plan.” If you have been in an Adult Sunday School class you quickly realize the subject materials tend to recycle themselves every two years or so.
The main problem is the pressure we place on our Sunday School teachers. For a half hour to forty-five minute lesson our teachers must spend several hours each week in preparing for the lesson. At least our teachers do. On top of that they must be ready to give a lesson that has something for the experienced Bible student as well as the beginner each week. An elementary to high school teacher would be the first to admit that is not possible. Yet, this is what we expect, if not demand, from our Sunday School teachers. This is also why most of the lesson materials come to the church from out-source providers.
The out-sourced materials provider cannot build a lesson plan in the traditional step-by-step and level-by-level way. Why? Our Sunday School classes are arranged by age groups and not by Bible experience levels. Such a provider can only offer so much. With the undo pressure of trying to be everything to everyone our Sunday School teachers are limited in what they can do or provide for.
I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other.
1 Cor 3:2-3 (NLT)
You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.
Heb 5:12-14 (NLT)
I know and have spoken with those who have told me, “I've been a Sunday School teacher for thirty years.” “Wow,” I reply. “You must have hundreds of students out there teaching Sunday School?” Often the reply is, “No, the same group is still with me today.” Ooops! Does this help promote and grow God's Kingdom? Ouch!
By grouping by age group and not by experience we limit ourselves, the study materials and our ability to grow as a Christian. This teaching model has been in place for decades. Why rock the boat? We are Christians! It is our job to rock the boat.
We have this attitude of “Got Milk.” Then think that is enough. Look at the scriptures above. Milk is not enough.
Solution: Those who want more need to learn to teach. When you teach a lesson you learn more and get more out of it. Sure it takes more of your own personal time. Time spent with God. What could be better? Therefore we need a Sunday School class for new Sunday School teachers. Existing Sunday School teachers could rotate to help teach the class by sharing their personal experiences and offer guidance in a way books just cannot. Just like missionaries. They need others to come in and relieve them once in a while. This way new Sunday School teachers can gain experience without having to be appointed for life to a classroom.
Wait a minute! We do not have enough students to call for the need to train new Sunday School teachers.
He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.”
Matt 9:37 (NLT)
Not training new Sunday School teachers is like telling farmers we have enough to eat this week. There is no need for you to go to all that trouble in planting another crop.
Team up, Set-up and get into the fight. <><