Sunday, January 21, 2007

No Sunday School today, but tons of ideas

JC and I were visiting with my mom this weekend, so we asked Ginny, the kids' Wednesday-night teacher to take over for us. I think she just expanded the Wednesday lesson (packaged curriculum) for either the week before or the week after. That is one major problem with teaching Sunday school--our families live four hours away. We can't go see them without getting a sub for our class. We might take the summer quarter off, because we really missed our families this past several months. At Christmas, I realized I hadn't been to my dad's house in a year, and hadn't seen him since July. We call each other alot, so I was surprised it had been so long, but still. JC hadn't seen his grandparents since our wedding in May. We hadn't been to his parents' house or my mom's house since May, though we had spent time with both of them in other places.

It's one of those things--I feel guilty for not seeing my family, and I feel guilty for not teaching. Sigh. You can't win 'em all.

We' ve started to talk about a few ideas, though, ones that could help our kids feel more like they are part of the church. Earth Day falls on a Sunday this year, and we've been talking about doing a creation care devo that afternoon, maybe having the kids design it. They could choose verses and hymns, lead prayers, and maybe give a short lesson. We could invite the congregation--not just the kids, but everyone. JC and I were joking that this might be a tough assignment for our kids because they don't know any hymns (did I mention that they refuse to sing?), but, as Bethany pointed out, they'd have to learn some for this project. Who knows, maybe being somewhat in charge would make them eager to learn.

We're also thinking about asking if they would like to do a Bible bowl in Parkersburg, WV, this fall. JC's mom is the secretary at Camden Avenue Church of Christ, where they do a pretty serious Bible bowl for elementary through high school students. I'm kind of concerned about this idea. I'm not personally into learning for competition's sake, but JC says that it was a major motivator for Bible study among his friends when he was in elementary school. Maybe a Bible bowl would form good habits in our students, as it did in JC and his friends. I'm also scared that they would be thoroughly womped. They're good kids, and smart, but they aren't great at applying themselves. Maybe they lack the right motivator; maybe they generally lack motivation.

Another idea I've been thinking about is to do a rally with them--similar to the teen rallies our church sponsors. It would just be a one-day thing, not an overnight thing, and only for 3rd through 5th graders. Our church really doesn't do much for this age group at all, and I would like to change that.

More and more churches are using the internet to connect with teens. We could easily set up a blog for our class, where we could post things that were relevant to what we had studied the previous Sunday or would study the next Sunday. We could even post our classnotes--sometimes I worry about what the kids tell their parents about our class. They could see exactly what we're trying to do. We could link to it from the church's website--maybe potential members would be interested in bizarro Sunday school.

I'm becoming unbelievably -- to me, and also to my friends and family -- passionate about this Sunday school. I think about it alot, and write and talk about it more than I should. I'm probably destined to be one of those annoying parents who insists on telling people every cute thing her kids do.

This evening, church was cancelled because of the snow (it was only about 1/2 an inch, but no one knew this morning how bad (or not) it was going to be). Not going to church at all on a Sunday felt weird, particularly since we missed Wednesday because JC was really sick. I asked JC if we could do Communion this evening anyway--we had grape juice and matzoh, and after all, we Church of Christ folk are much less concerned about the building than about people being gathered together to worship--even if it's just the two of us.

JC thought that was a good idea, and so we prayed together and took communion with the big matzoh and a tumbler of grape juice. The whole time, I kept thinking about how blessed I am that I can share this with him--I was always afraid we'd never be that married couple who truly have God at the center of their relationship. We were both always so private about our faith. Now, not even eight months later, we have that, and it's better than I ever imagined. I also would never, never before have been able to talk in a public forum like this about my faith. Sharing my relationship with God with my husband has given me a lot of courage I never expected I would have.

On JC's twenty-fifth birthday, a few weeks ago, after I had teased him about being an old fart (he's a year older than I am), I told him that I had always been in love with the man I could see him growing into. We've been friends since I was thirteen, and I think that's really always been a big part of what I was in love with--I could see where he was going, even when he was only a ninth-grader, insecure and showing off to hide it. Now, he's mostly there, mostly what I saw in him when he was so young--and I'm still in love with where he's going.

This blog is supposed to be about our Sunday school, and I'm getting there. The point is, I'm also in love with that potential in our students. I see them, at nine and ten, as even further from their grown-up selves than my JC was when we were in high school. I see the way they still can change direction or shift focus. I see the impact, positive and negative, that the world has on them. Mostly, I see their unbelievable potential--their intelligence, their humor, their devotion to their faith. I want them to realize the power they have. I want them to be, truly, the next Christian generation.

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