Posted: August 1st, 2022
Read my classmate post. Think and write your thoughts and feelings about his post. (1 page)
Programs for the teenagers; programs for the pre-teens; programs for the primary group and the pre-school group; programs for the parents; programs for the seniors – the congregation had the best of intentions to make the church a family, but all these programs were not in the best interest of my family! We could not have a complete family dinner because at least one child was gone. Sundays were full of services and service projects; Saturdays were often scheduled for fun activities with the church family. We were away from home most days of the week trying to be a part of that family, and it was unraveling the threads of our own.
We had to decide not to participate in everything that was offered. It was the best way to regain our “familyness.” This move assisted our desire to teach our children to know God. Yes, the Bible classes at the church were good and effective, but those teachers were not ultimately responsible for our children’s education. My husband and I were. So, we took a step back from most of the church’s programs and strengthened our own programs of teaching them to know and to serve our Lord. We did so very quietly so as not to create any disunity in the body. We never missed a service or Bible class. It wasn’t about the “musts,”; it was about the excessive extras.
I recognize that this could have just been a failing in me. Maybe I couldn’t handle doing it all. Maybe if I had been more “something,” we could have stayed in all those programs. Yet, in my heart, I knew it is the parent’s responsibility to “bring them [our children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4) and to meet that responsibility our constant presence with our church family had to be adjusted. I did not have time to teach my own children because I was supporting those other efforts. Others could do those things; I was my kids’ only mother!
The family is the initial and primary teaching unit God set up (Deut. 6:4-5). We need to be busy teaching our daddies how to father, our mommies how to mother, and our children how to respect and obey. Paul told Titus to command the older women to teach the younger women how to be godly wives and mothers (Tit. 2:3-5). As I travel the country, I hear older women excuse themselves from this work saying, “They won’t listen.” Interestingly, the younger women are asking, “Why don’t they teach us? We need them!” Supporting our families with Bible class instruction and pulpit preaching is right, good, and needed, but maybe the strongest support comes from the older generation who is willing to be involved in the lives of younger souls who need help in directing their children to the Lord. This mentoring activity builds the kind of “familyness” that blesses everyone involved and edifies the church.
As a Bible class teacher, how do I respect and support the family and the work of the church at the same time? I have been known to visit in the homes of my students before a class begins to express that I know it is the family’s job to educate their child in the Bible and I support their efforts to do so. I pause at that point to ask how (not if; closed questions tend to get non-answers) I can help them. Sometimes, they have a need that I can be active in filling; other times, no need is expressed. I move then to asking them to help me. I give them a list of the lessons their child’s class will be studying and ask them to help by making sure their child attends regularly, brings a Bible to class, and completes his learning assignments. Such visits are generally well received. Most parents appreciate my interest and connection, and I make sure to stay in close contact throughout my time as their child’s teacher.
Both family and church have a role to play in Biblical education. The greatest success occurs when they each work diligently to fulfill their own responsibility while respecting and supporting the other. God’s design works; we just have to work it out His way.
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