Why Come to Sunday School?
This month, like many churches, we come back from our summer hiatus and begin again our Sunday School ministry. This year features many exciting topics, talented new and returning teachers, a streamlined youth curriculum, and a completely new high school curriculum (co-taught by Pastor Scott and Chris). It should be a good year, and I'd like to invite and encourage you to a committed participation. Yes, coming to Sunday school will require you to get up a little bit earlier. Yes, it will be cold and dark outside. Yes, it's not easy to get the kids going (believe me, I know). Yet despite these barriers, there are many more good reasons to make Sunday School a priority this year for you and your family.
- Continual Learning is part of the Christian life
To follow Christ is to be his disciple. To be a disciple is to be a lifelong learner. Conversion is just the beginning of our Christian life and discipleship. Christ himself told us that a fundamental component of being his disciple is being taught to observe all that he commanded us (Matt 28:18-20). When Paul was in Ephesus, he taught the disciples for hours a day for a two year period (Acts 19:8-10). That is a lot of teaching! Clearly our Father wants us to continually grow in our knowledge and understanding of his word. He doesn’t want us to be a mile wide but only an inch deep. We don't want to be like the Christians that the author to Hebrews had to rebuke saying "for though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food" (Heb 5:12). The point is this: We should never be satisfied with just knowing the basics of our faith, of having a lowest common denominator understanding, but should be looking for opportunities to learn. Sunday school is certainly not the only way to do this, but it is an easy opportunity, sponsored by the church, to learn more about God's word and how it relates to our lives.
- Sunday School is a good use of the Lord's Day
Often Christians complain that we don't have time to study theology, go deep in God's word, etc. And it is true that during the week, life can be very hectic indeed. But God has given us one day to be set apart for him for our refreshment and growth as disciples. What better use of time on Sunday than to give an extra hour that is devoted to studying the word with brothers and sisters?
- Promotes Fellowship with others in the church
This is a side benefit of Sunday school. We are there to learn, but we learn together. There is give and take, there is discussion, there is coffee, and there is fellowship before and after. It's another small way to be with God's people and get to know each other.
- Age appropriate instruction is a good thing.
We love to have our children with us in worship. As members of the covenant community, we love to have them with us when our God calls his covenant people to worship him each week, as far as that is practically possible. We believe that intergenerational discipleship both in families and churches is an important component of Christian growth (see point 5).
Yet, we recognize that God has given us minds and bodies that go through a process of development. Schools don't teach calculus to kindergarteners because they have not yet developed to the point where they can learn it. While theology and the truth of God can be learned by little children, recognizing that developmental differences exist between adults and children is not wrong, and can help them both learn better. Both a 3 year old and a 16 year old can be taught about the Trinity, for example, but the way it is taught will not be the same. The curriculum that we use (Great Commission Publications) has been tailored by our denomination to teach and reinforce biblical truths with these distinctions in mind.
- Promotes adult and children interaction and friendships in the church
Sunday School teachers who work with our children become part of that "great cloud of witnesses" that Hebrews speaks of. Our children need examples of the faith from other men and women who have been walking with the Lord for a long time. Personally, this is one of the reasons that I am going to begin co-teaching the High School class this fall. I want to know our youth, and I want them to grow up in a church where they were able to know their pastor at some level. I don't want to be known by them as the talking head who preaches every Sunday, but as someone they could call years from now for advice when confronting a difficult situation in college. This I hope will be true for all of our teachers. Sunday School is one small way that we as a congregation fulfill the vow that we made to parents to "assist them" in the Christian nurture of their children.
What's keeping you from coming? Why not start this year?