Monday, January 28, 2008

Purpose of Christian Education

Yesterday, two students in my high school class publicly confessed their faith in Christ and were baptized. What a happy moment! As I watched the baptism, I was filled with a quiet contentment. “This is what it’s all about,” I thought to myself.

Leading our students to Christ and training them to walk in His ways are our most important goals inside the Christian education classroom. Everything we do, every word we say, every activity we plan, every movie clip we show should somehow fit into the overall plan of introducing our young people to the LifeSaver who is the Only One capable of giving us the hope of life after death.

I’ve been teaching through the book of John. My last few lessons have hit pretty hard on the reality of Jesus as the divine son of God, his work on the cross to save us from our sins, and the hope he gives us. Yet, before my hand moved to my shoulder to pat myself on the back, I realized my two young people who accepted Jesus yesterday had not been real regular in their attendance in my class the last couple of months. What brought about their decision?

Most of the training in the Christian faith had happened outside the classroom. A man in our church had taken the boy under wing for the last couple of years. D is a fix it kind of guy. He does a lot of odd jobs for other people, sometimes for pay, sometimes as a service to others. Over the last two years, D has taken A everywhere: on job projects, on youth outings, to widow lady houses to do yard work, to VBS to build a backdrop for our Story Center. A became D’s shadow. All along, D modeled the Christian faith and slowly started talking to A about his relationship with Jesus. Soon, A started attending church and Sunday School. We knew A was becoming interested when he would show up even if D wasn’t there.

A week ago, A said he wanted to accept Christ. The pastor asked his girlfriend who was with him if she wanted to as well. No, she wasn’t ready, she said. But middle of the week, the girlfriend called and said she was ready. Even before he was baptized, A was leading someone else to Christ! The next day, A called and asked if he could start helping with the power point slides at church. He’s already jumping in to family life!

No, I really couldn’t take credit for the new faith of these two young people. Yet, in a way, I could. I was there. I was friendly to the two students. I included them whenever they came. I taught my class faithfully. Who knows what I or any of us said that might have been the trigger that led them to this decision? We all needed to be faithful in presenting Christ every chance we had so that the Holy Spirit could take our words and actions and use them to convince these two young people of the Truth. Leading someone to the point of acknowledging their faith in Christ is a partnership with the Holy Spirit, a team effort with a lot of other people. Our job is to be faithful to proclaim and to quietly rejoice that the Lord saw fit to allow us to have a part in the process.

The angels in heaven are rejoicing! So am I! Rejoice with us!

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