Kids in Sunday School
Firstly check out Tuesday’s post: Why I’m pro kids in Church for the other side of this argument. Then read through this blog right to the end for what my ideal scenario would be.
Sunday School can reach kids in a way church for all cannot
Imagine giving a sermon,you’ve explained the passage and now you’re thinking through the application: If you’re retired, in work, unemployed, at school, studying, married, single, a parent, at home and if you’re three! That’s a lot of ground to cover and the worst at picking up what applies to them are the youngest – they’re also the most likely to walk away with the ‘I just need to be a better person’ message, because that’s what grown up application sounds like. It’s also a great place for them to learn Bible study skills, practice reading the word out loud, see how their different skills can be useful in building one another up. It’s also a great place for them to get to know adults other than their parents well, I visited my old church after 9 months away and my Sunday School class and youth group were the most delighted to see me because they knew me.
It’s easier for kids who don’t come from Christian families
If you’re brought to church by some neighbours or as a friend of a child from a church family – the whole thing is a bit weird! Sunday school can be easier because a) it’s more like school b) there are fewer people to get to know c) someone is explaining what’s going on and what’s going to happen next d) there’s more opportunity to be taught and less opportunity to do the ‘wrong’ thing. It’s also often easier for the parents to accept and taking home crafts and worksheets gives them a chance to tell their parents what they’ve been learning.
It takes a load off the parents
I mentioned having kids in the service to a parent the other day and got this reply “I know that if my kid was in the service I’d hear about 65% of it – on a good day” another Dad nearby hear 65% scoffed and said “more like 30”. These are good parents with good kids who aren’t looking for Sunday School to be entertainment but parenting is hard if you have to curb the wriggles, explain words, pick up the coins dropped next to the collection bag, help them find the right page, pick them up to see song words, change a stinky nappy etc. It can be somewhat distracting and it multiplies with every child you have. Having children in Sunday school doesn’t relieve parents of the burden of teaching their children but it gives them a time to be taught as well.
There are people who were made to teach kids
Yeah there are people teaching in Sunday Schools because they’re filling a need and I am grateful for those hardworking self-sacrificial people: the church needs them. There are also people who thrive on the challenge of prepping a lesson, thinking of crafts, drawing pictures and, in short, teaching children!
It makes inclusion for SEN children so much easier
Smaller groups and separate environments make it easier to accommodate the necessary changes you may have to make for kids with SEN. And yes there needs to be time for them to integrate and get used to normal church but Sunday School is the best place to learn their needs and take care of them.
It’s a chance to train up future leaders
It’s weekly evangelism and Bible study leading with up front leadership thrown into the mix. It requires good planning and creative thinking, careful anticipation and on-the-on-the-spot thinking, boundless enthusiasm and careful consideration plus a tonne of prayer. And for young leaders especially but others too doing those things for children is a less intimidating crowd in front of whom you’re putting new skills into practice.