“Every community that wants to last beyond a single generation must concern itself with education.” – Walter Brueggemann
In most of our area churches, Sunday School and Wednesday night Christian education classes and youth groups are off to a great start. I am going to take the liberty of using this weekly column to say thank you to a very large group of people.
First, thank you to all the people who teach Sunday School and lead music. You are the ones that make the children excited about learning about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. You are an example to not only those you teach but to everyone in the congregation. You are often the first face a pre-schooler meets when they enter the room and the high school student confides in when life gets out of control. When those of us that are older look back to our Sunday School days we can often think of a teacher who made an impact on our lives but hardly ever a curriculum. Teachers prove that faith is “caught” not “taught.”
Next, we appreciate the parents and grandparents who realize that Christian education is the most important education they can give their children and not only bring their children to church but also reinforce the lessons at home. Spending a few minutes a day reading the Bible and praying together in the home is a sign of a loving and concerned parent. Helping your children grow in their faith creates a foundation that no other activity can match. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.(Deuteronomy 5:5-7 NRSV) Families that openly share their faith and live with God at the center of their lives create a legacy that is incomparable.
“Hats off” to the youth group leaders. These men and women are the ones that create a feeling of trust and community. Faith formation happens in many ways. Mission trips, church camps and fun fellowship activities are a major part of growing in faith.
Fourth - thank you to every church and every person in the congregation who make Christian education a priority in their scheduling, budget and prayers. It is with such gratitude that we accept special gifts to support our education programs especially from those that no longer have children participating. You know that the promises we make at baptism and confirmation are life long.
The faith heritage we share with the children of our community shapes us and the generation they will become. Thanks be to God for the teachers, the leaders, the families and the children.
If you have read this article and can think of a child or teenager who does not attend Sunday School or Wednesday night youth group or classes please call one of the local clergy. We would appreciate being in contact with them. Peace,
Pastor Lorah Houser Jankord, Tulare United Church