Do you teach Sunday School? If you don’t, you should. It is the greatest job in the world, and it will grow you and challenge you in ways that you never, ever imagined. I was in the ministry for about 30 years and half that time I spent as a Pastor of Christian Education, recruiting teachers, training teachers, and even talking a few off the cliff. Yeah, it got bad sometimes, but the satisfying times by far outnumbered the dark days. One of those special teachers was a lady who saw her students, not as a job to accomplish each Sunday from 9 till 10, but as an opportunity to affect the hearts and minds of some young people (3rd grade) who wanted to attend her class each Sunday. In fact, after 3rd grade some of the students would come to me and ask if they could stay in 3rd grade another year. Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Not everyone is called to be a Sunday School teacher, right? Well, that’s half right.
Everyone is called to SERVE, but where and when is discerned by someone who knows what God wants. The years I spent recruiting, the conversation usually went like this: “Sorry Pastor, I can’t teach”; at that point they assumed the talk was over and they could move on to something else. Then I would fire back: “Oh, that’s okay, I’ll let you know if you can teach or not”. At that point, they usually just stared in unbelief, until I gave them an “just kidding look” and I proceeded to give them a reasonable plan to discover where God wanted them to serve. But how did I know what kind of person this was and whether they were ready to teach some of the most tender and precious young minds that God has given us? Many of the answers were found in the book of I John.
“We are not to judge.” Have you ever heard that? As someone who was in the position of hiring people to serve our children, I needed to know who I could trust. What was the basic qualification to determine if someone was truly a believer? The answer is found here in I John1:6. “If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” Does this person live a life that demonstrates a life of fellowship with him, sharing Biblical truth, not lying, and showing the fruits of His spirit? I John 2:5-6 says, “But if anyone obeys his word, God love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Who ever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did”. These verses, as well as the rest of I John, draw a distinction between someone who pretends to be born again and someone whose heart has truly been changed. When asking people to join a ministry, or to teach children, or to teach any age, this is a good place to begin.
So, besides trying to get everyone to consider teaching, why are we even talking about this? The reason is that each of us are encountering people every day who claim to be a Christian, who may say they want to serve, but there is a much bigger issue as to whether or not they are ready to serve. Do they actually know Christ? They say they know God, they’ve been baptized, and they go to church as often as they can (even if that is just Christmas and Easter). This may be your day to love someone into the Kingdom of God through a clear and powerful presentation of the Gospel and show them what it actually means to serve.
I grew up having an Advent Calendar. It was a handmade wall hanging with a green gingham Christmas tree...