Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday School basics

So Sunday School is back on and I've survived the second week with 19 kiddos.  Last week, I felt I was concentrating too hard on the mechanics of making the new material work and not thinking enough about the kids themselves.  So in the car this morning on the way to church I was chewing over the purpose of Sunday School.  In Philosophy classes this week we've been discussing the chief end of man*.  That made me think, what would it be like if I asked the question, "What is the chief end of Sunday School?"  and gave the answer, "To glorify God and enjoy him forever."

Now I'm not attempting any kind of justification of the modern practice of Sunday Schooling during church services.  I'll leave that hot potato well alone, thanks.  But it did seem to me that that phrase provides a really good foundation for the basics of Sunday School.

Glorifying God

* The focus of our time together at Sunday School should be on God and his works.  It should not be all about how clever the program is, what a great performer I am, nor how cute the craft turns out to be.  If any of those things get top billing, then my priorities are out of whack.

* In order to glorify God, we ought to be organized.  The program should be well-planned.  The materials well- ordered.  The lesson should be prepared earlier than the very last minute, the children prayed for and the parents encouraged.  Sloppy preparation and execution on a regular basis is not God-honouring.

Enjoying God

* If the Sunday School time is dour and grim and full of disapproving stares from a teacher who doesn't really want to be there, I'm not sure we can be said to be enjoying God.

* Our time together should be characterized by joy and thankfulness in view of God's kindness to us in giving us Jesus.

It was actually a termendously helpful thing to have in my head as we begun the lesson: glorify God and enjoy Him.

* We have been contrasting Aristotle's description of the function of man with the Shorter Catechism's opening question: What is the chief end of man?  The Catechism (written during the English Reformation in the 1640s) answers it this way: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.


Anonymous said...

So important - it's so easy to get caught up in other aims (quite human really). I love your point about enjoying God - how often we make learning the things of God stern and stodgy - worth remembering at home! J

Karen said...

I also appreciated that point about enjoying God. Good to be reminded.

Our big guys are doing a unit on the Westminster Shorter catechism this term, they learn the answer to a new question each week and we quiz them about it at home to follow up. Great fun. Both of them are quite good at memorizing stuff so it hasn't been too difficult for them and we are enjoying throwing the questions at them at random as we are driving around in the car, after dinner at night or whenever we feel like it :)

Karen said...

Oops. So I have just been told by my husband that they are actually learning the Heidelberg catechism. Time for me to do a refresher myself, I think ;)

Deb said...

I haven't learnt the Heidelberg by memory (or the Westminster for that matter!) but I did teach with a Sunday School curriculum that was based on it for a few years. I think it's beautifully worded. Very fond of it.

Caroline said...

Wow! 19 kids!