FIRST-PERSON: Taking Sunday School home
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--It's a great thing when families go to Sunday School together. One of the wonderful things about a Sunday morning schedule that includes both worship and Bible study is that it allows a church -- and the households that comprise it -- to accomplish the first two steps of the disciple-making process with every member of the family during one trip to the church building. Still, the primary disciple-making process for a family happens at home -- or at least it should, according to the Greatest Commandment (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). Here are some tips on how families can take Sunday School home:
-- Use the take-home sheets.
Many churches use a curriculum that provides a take-home sheet or card to send home with preschoolers and children after Sunday School. Typically, the sheets include the Bible story or passage, a key verse, and some sort of activity that can be completed at home (or explained if completed at church). Unfortunately, many of those resources are never used as intended. What is that intent? To help a parent review and reinforce a particular biblical truth throughout the week. Try putting the take-home page on the refrigerator door or a bulletin board so it can be reviewed daily.
-- Know what your kids are learning.
Find out what curriculum materials are being used with your preschooler, elementary-age child or student. Your Sunday School director, division director or a staff member would be thrilled to know you're interested in what your kids are learning. They can guide you in how to keep up with what your child is and will be learning in Sunday School by providing a copy of the table of contents from a teacher's guide or a link to an online source for the information.
If your church uses LifeWay curriculum, you can sign up for a weekly e-mail preview of what your kids will be learning at Parent2Parent.ning.com.
-- Understand what your child should be learning.
How should your child be developing in terms of his/her grasp of basic biblical concepts? A helpful chart, called "Biblical Levels of Learning," attempts to answer this question and can be found at LifeWay.com/LevelsofBiblicalLearning. Although it is the foundational document for the creation of LifeWay curriculum for preschoolers and children, it is a "curriculum neutral" document that parents can use regardless of what Bible study materials their church uses. It identifies eight to 10 important biblical concepts and how each of those concepts should be understood as a child grows older.
-- Talk about how the adult lesson relates to kids.
Many of the passages studied and discussed in an adult class are not age-appropriate for kids. But there is often a truth that can be shared within the family and almost always a truth that will make the learner a more Christlike parent! In "Life Truths," LifeWay's popular Bible study curriculum designed specifically for parents, there is a weekly "Conversation Starters" feature that gives suggestions for sharing an adult lesson truth with a preschooler, child or teenager. If your class uses a different title or material from a different publisher, you can still devote a few minutes near the end of an adult group session to talk this over.
Sunday School is supplemental to what happens at home, not the other way around. Parents, not Sunday School teachers, have the primary responsibility for making disciples of their children. So take your household to Sunday School, but don't forget to take Sunday school home!
David Francis is director of Sunday School at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.