What follows are the true confessions of a gal who has been teaching and leading spiritual discussion for more than twenty-five years. Maybe you have taught before, or maybe you’re leading a group now. If so, you might be able to relate to some of these.
1. I need inspiration, too. I cherish my Sunday morning discussion with the Bible and I love the people who join me in those conversations. Both the Word and the people inspire me, and I need inspiration on a daily basis. ! I see Jesus in the folks around the circle on Sunday and it makes me want to know more about HOW He is doing WHAT He is doing in their lives. What are they thinking, how are they processing, what challenges are they facing and what rewards are they finding along the way as they walk with God? I want to know. I thrive on the inspiration our conversations bring to my spiritual awareness.
2. I get excited when I see a lot of sharing taking place before the lesson starts. We pray before every discussion. The sharing that takes place before and during that time primes my soul like a pump primes a well. Out of those moments living waters flow. Sometimes the sharing cuts into our study time, but the flip side of that is that it also creates community. If it becomes a distraction or feels like it’s moving us away from God’s will for the morning, the Spirit prompts us. When we listen to the prompting, the discussion that follows is incredible.
3. I love the freedom to explore bunny trails and go off-road during Sunday school. I’m not afraid to go anywhere in our discussion, as long as it’s where God’s finger points.
4. I will confess that my ability to concentrate in the rooms is sometimes marred by a bad night’s sleep. I suffer from insomnia, and there are those rare occasions when the sleeplessness occurs on a Saturday night. If it does, I will probably be working with a foggy brain on Sunday morning. Please know, I care about the lesson in those times as much as any time, but in those times I need for Jesus to steer our discussion and for you to be more actively engaged than ever. I hate insomnia.
5. I adore debate, but hate it when we fight. One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. We have the capacity to control our bodies, our minds, and our lips. Doing so serves us in all areas of life, especially those areas where community and morale are of utmost importance.
6. I want to hear the truth, but ruthless sharing shuts me down. I have a hang-up with civility and/or the lack thereof in our society today. It’s a problem, even in the church. I know about tough love. Sometimes it’s necessary, but not often. I think ill-informed people share information in wrong ways. They don’t understand that the closer we grow to Christ, the less rude and ruthless we ought to be with our fellows. Remember, the song says, “yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
7. I feel like controversy isn’t the enemy in our gatherings, ego is. In the church, as in all of life, if someone can’t tolerate to listen while another shares an opposing view I become suspicious that ego has reared its ugly head. I am convinced that God speaks clearest his will to his people when ego is put down and we go into our group discussion with an “open hands/open hearts” policy.
8. If you leave the class, I’m probably going to take it personally. Just the way I roll. But if God is asking you to move on, change perspective, or be an example in another corner of the kingdom, than that is what I want for you. And we’ll see each other around. We’re family.
9. The Pastor’s support matters. If you are a pastor, please plan to sit in on each teacher’s class once a quarter, even the kiddie classes. Those who dedicate their time to teaching in your church need affirmation, your affirmation, and you never know when you might be the pivot person in a wee one’s life. They need heroes, too. Be one on Sunday and you’ll have captured their hearts for the rest of the week, as well.
10. Given the choice, I’ll always pick Sunday school over any other type of worship activity—I love it that much! Small group gatherings matter to me. Finding Jesus through small group dynamics matters to me. Hearing from my hurting fellows or sharing in their joy, matters to me. Sunday school is the perfect place to ask questions, get answers, challenge preconceived notions, and form the foundations of future understandings in Scripture. That matters to me. Sunday school will always matter to me!
Do you gather together with other Christians for study of the Bible on Sunday? If not, why not? Where do you go for that small group feel that is so important to personal growth?