Saturday, January 6, 2007


I just wanted to make a list of the things I think make teaching Sunday school difficult. Maybe if I lay them all out here, I can come up with ways to dig around them.

  1. Inconsistent attendance. It's hard to string together a narrative, or create a lesson you think will really speak to one specific kid (see also, Ali and the Joseph story) when you have no idea how many kids will be there, and which ones they will be, on a given Sunday.
  2. Church is a chore. It raises my hackles to see parents who come to church because they feel like they have to. They don't sing, they look at their watches alot, and they bring their children candy with noisy wrappers. When my brother-in-law was a kid, so he says, he used to groan when his parents woke him up on Sundays: "Do I have to go to church?" "No!" his dad would say. "You get to go!" I'd like to see more of that.
  3. Video games. Seriously, a lot of my students never read when they don't have to. This is a trait which, in ordinary human beings, always makes me suspect that a person is not a very interesting individual. In my students, it just complicates things, because they can read a passage, or hear something read, and not have any comprehension at all of what it might mean. I blame cable TV, video games, and those stupid DVD players in minivans (I know, everyone says that when I'm a parent, I'll want one of those. I'll believe that when I see it.) for their combined lack of literacy and attention span.
  4. Dearth of materials. See previous post.
  5. Complications involving what, exactly, one can say to someone else's kids, especially as regards sex (so, what was Potiphar's wife up to? Oh, and we're teaching Rahab this week too.), discipline (yeah? Well you're not my mom! Good point, kid.), and God (how much can I challenge their faith?).
I'm sure there are more, but I'm low on steam. I really wish we could get them to sing. The Churches of Christ used to have such a strong vocal music tradition--like the Mennonites do now. Some churches have maintained it, and many individuals in the Church have. It's a good tradition. Singing together binds us as community. None of these kids are interested. It's just for little kids, they think. Wait until they go to their first youth rally--nothing at all but singing for hours and hours. Maybe they'll change their minds then.

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