Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Discipleship Making: Teaching and Mentoring

If you are a Sunday School teacher, children’s ministry leader or youth worker, you are teaching some of the most important concepts your students will ever learn. You are responsible for presenting the truths about God that will lead them to structure their lives around His moral code. You are sharing the words of life with them, for your words will cause them to accept or reject Him, to believe in Him or not, to accept His gift of eternal life or turn away from it. Does God care about your teaching? Of course He does! And He wants to be involved in helping you plan and teach His message. He is working in ways you don’t even know to connect your teaching to your students’ lives.

I shouldn’t be surprised when I see God working with me in my plans. But I never cease to be amazed. My last post told how God orchestrated my schedule over several weeks. This past week, He was faithful once again to be an integral part of my plans.

My junior church lesson was on Jesus’ calling of the twelve disciples. I flitted with the idea of skipping that lesson and doing a lesson on the Resurrection instead, since this was, after all, Easter Sunday. I decided to keep to the curriculum. On another front, the church was planning a “Sending Service” at the end of worship service to commission me and a man in our church who are leaving for a two week mission trip this week. As I worked though the lesson with my class, I realized that my lesson and the “Sending” was going to dovetail perfectly.

We learned about the disciples, their names, who they were, what occupations they left, that they were ordinary men Jesus called to do His work. We talked about who God calls today to spread the Good News, that it’s not just preachers God calls but everybody. Then I explained that in a few minutes, the class was going to go join the adults as I and Verl were set apart by the elders to go to Austria. One little boy, after five minutes said, “You really are going to Austria? You aren’t just using that as an example?” His answer came a few minutes later.

An elder escorted us upstairs. I asked him to find a place for the children to sit together since the auditorium was packed. I walked to the front. A soloist sang a song I had been warned would bring on the tears, called, “Here I Am.” Then the elders lay hands on us and prayed over us. I looked out over the congregation. There in the second row, sat a line of my seven students, staring right at me, learning what it means to be a modern day disciple. That’s the moment the tears came.

In that moment I moved beyond teaching to mentoring. I wasn’t just mouthing words about our need to follow Jesus. I was doing it in front of my students. I was showing them that Jesus calls ordinary people like their Junior Church teacher to go to far away places to share the Good News.

As you teach inside your classroom, how are you modeling what you teach? How are you displaying what it means to be a disciple of Jesus?


I’ll be back with more thoughts on teaching children Inside The Classroom in three weeks. I ask for your prayers that God will grace our work and continue to lead us to do His will.


natalya grove said...

Thanks for your comments about teaching children it is very encouraging. To able to teach the children importance of discipleship and teaching them what it means to be discipled, when a person is yielded to God's will can be changed and see what God can in, with and through that person, if we can teach this our children, when they grow up the subject of discipleship wont be so taboo as it is now in this generation of adults.Thanks again Natalya

Karen Wingate said...

Thank you, Natalya. You encourage me! The work of teaching children about Jesus is so important, so crucial. God cares very much about the work we do and He is there to help us do the very best job we can. Continue to be faithful in discipling the children God has entrusted to your care. Karen