What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know: 24 Secrets That Can Help You Change Lives

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Sharing God's Word with children can be the most spiritually satisfying experience of your life. But if you've never taught kids before the prospect can be terrifying Let Elmer Towns put your fears to rest as you read through 24 "bite-sized" topics covering everything from motivation to gifting to teaching methods This easy-to-read book will inspire Sunday School teachers - new and experienced - to embrace with joy their important role of teaching children of all ages about God's amazing love.


  • SKU: 9780830728749
  • SKU10: 0830728740
  • Title: What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know: 24 Secrets That Can Help You Change Lives
  • Qty Remaining Online: 49
  • Publisher: Regal Books
  • Date Published: Dec 2001
  • Pages: 192
  • Weight lbs: 0.29
  • Dimensions: 6.67" L x 4.81" W x 0.49" H
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: TEACHING HELPS
  • Subject: Christian Education - General

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One

You Can Make a Difference in a Life

My first introduction to Sunday School came from Jimmy Breland. He was a Sunday School teacher from the Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia, who made a living from being a door-to-door salesman for Jewel Tea and Coffee. It was the end of the Depression-the late 1930s-when Jimmy came to our home and spread out his wares on the living-room floor. As he began to sell the coffee and tea items to my mother, I entered the room.

"Where do you go to Sunday School?" asked the salesman. "What is Sunday School?" I replied. Jimmy explained that Sunday School was a place where they told stories, sang songs, colored pictures and played on a sand table. "What's a sand table?" I asked innocently. Jimmy could see my interest in the sand table. I was like a fish on the line, so he reeled me in slowly. "If you come to my Sunday School, we'll make a sand mountain and show you how Jesus walked across the mountains." That was the first time I remember hearing the name Jesus. Then he said, "We'll put a mirror in the sand and it will become a lake; I'll show you how Jesus walked on water." "Like walking across Savannah River," I said with wild enthusiasm. Then I told my mother I wanted to go to Sunday School. "Not so fast," mother quipped. She and my father spent their time in taverns, drinking and dancing. They were trying to get away from God and the Church. My mother thought the enthusiastic tea and coffee salesman might represent a cult, so she asked him, "What church?"

Jimmy replied, "Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church." My mother had been married in a small Presbyterian church in South Carolina, so she found it hard to object. Then she said, "Where is it located?" When Jimmy explained that the church was about five miles away, she said, "He's too little to walk that far; he'd get lost." Jimmy Breland turned to me and said, "See that big black truck out the front screen door?" I could see large gold letters on the shiny black panel truck, JEWEL TEA AND COFFEE. "Want to ride in my truck to Sunday School?" "Yeah," was all I could say. Jimmy's church was located in a neighborhood that had gone bankrupt during the Depression. My mother protested that many of the homes remained unfinished shells with deep ditches in and around the yards and she was concerned for my safety. Then she said, "Wait till he goes to the first grade. Then you can take him to Sunday School." A few months later, September 1938, I entered the first grade. The following Sunday morning I was waiting on the front porch. I wore starched white short pants and my hair was greased down with oil. There was a misty rain falling, and soon Jimmy Breland came driving down the street in his truck, splashing through the mud puddles. He took me to Sunday School and I never missed one Sunday during the next 14 years. Jimmy Breland was more than my Sunday School taxi driver. He was my shepherd, and he taught me the Bible and Christian values. He became my counselor, mentor and, because my father was an alcoholic, he became my substitute role model of a father. He was always teaching me and making me think about my life. Once when he happened to drive by the schoolyard, he saved me from getting beaten up in a fight. While he drove me home, he asked, "What would Jesus do?"

Jimmy Breland, with only an eighth-grade education, never became an officer in the church and never owned a home; nor did he ever own a car. He always got a job driving a truck, because money was tight. So I went to Sunday School in a Jewel Tea and Coffee truck, an Atlantic Richfield truck and a linoleum truck. I was not the only one influenced by Jimmy Breland-19 boys in my class of 25 went into some form of full-time Christian service. When I told the story of Jimmy Breland at the National Children's Workers' Conference in San Diego, California, a lady hurried down the aisle to tell me she and others in her class were also influenced by Jimmy Breland-eight years after I was in his class. Without a lot of education, church officer experience or public recognition, Jimmy Breland made a difference in my life and in the lives of many others. You can do the same. You can influence a life for Christ.

Chapter Two

God Can Use You

Jim had not volunteered to help in Sunday School because he never finished high school and felt inadequate to be a teacher. When his friend asked Jim if he would sit in the junior boys' class to help keep down the noise and distractions, he agreed. Jim was a big man and, before his conversion, had a reputation for rowdy behavior. As a result, he still spoke loudly and directly. It was felt that Jim's presence would quiet the disruptive junior boys. After one Sunday in class, Jim quipped to his friend the teacher, "I'd cut up, too; you're boring!" The next Sunday Jim told the Bible story and the boys listened-spellbound-because of his size and also because of his boisterous mannerisms. Eventually, Jim told Bible stories to the entire junior department and became an effective teacher of young boys. Maybe you feel that God could never use you, for different reasons from Jim. But the reasons are still crucial to your perception of yourself. People fail to involve themselves in Sunday School over issues such as a poor self-image, a lack of trust in God to work through them, or a lack of wisdom in knowing where and when to serve. Below are a few insights I think are important to consider as you ponder serving in Sunday School.

Remain Faithful

If you think God couldn't use you, remember that He doesn't ask you to be successful; He asks you to be willing to serve Him and to be faithful in the task He gives you. God may call you to be a class secretary, a Scripture memory monitor or an assistant teacher like Jim, who found out he could tell a Bible story effectively. Be faithful to God's calling, because He uses faithful people. Some people will not work in Sunday School because they think the spiritual results lie in their hands. But remember, it is not your responsibility to "work in the student's hearts." That is God's responsibility. Your responsibility is to pray for God's blessing, prepare carefully and present God's truth faithfully. Don't hold back because you are fearful about results. Be faithful in presenting God's Word to students; then trust God to make the lesson real in their lives.

Stay Available

Peter and John went up to the Temple at the time of prayer. They met a lame man begging for money. The two disciples didn't have anything, so Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk" (Acts 3:6, N/V). The lame man was healed. Notice that Peter and John were used of God because they went to the right place. Is God's house the right place for you to work? They went at the right time (i.e., the time of prayer). Is Sunday morning the right time for you to serve God? They had the right attitude (i.e., they were aware of their limitations). If you have questions about whether God will use you, consider how God used Peter and John. All they had to offer the man was the message of Jesus Christ. That should be your response, too. God can use you when you give out the right message. Some people might not be serving because they don't have time or they are too busy. That may be true. In today's society, most people are busier than they've ever been. That means you will have to prioritize your time. Make sure you place the most important things at the top of your schedule. That should include Bible study, prayer and church attendance. But you should also include time for serving the Lord. Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23, N/V). If may be a sacrifice to work in Sunday School, but if also may be something you should do. You may have to deny yourself some other pleasures, but God will reward you for doing it.

Believe His Promise

God has promised that if you will exalt His Son, the message of Jesus Christ will attract your students to salvation. "And I, if I am lifted up . will draw all peoples to Myself" (John 12:32). God will use you when you have the right attitude and the right message. When you faithfully serve Him, your ,Sunday School ministry will be used of God. He uses those who want to be useful.

Chapter Three

God Has Equipped You

In 1928, a single young lady named Henrietta Mears was invited to serve as the director of Christian education at Hollywood Presbyterian Church, California. At the time, no one could have known how significant her ministry would be. In an age when ministry was largely considered the domain of men, Henrietta Mears made a difference in a Southern California church-a difference that changed the world. To Henrietta, Sunday School was the hub of the educational ministries, so she devoted significant energy and resources to building a strong Sunday School. Under her leadership, the Sunday School attendance exploded from an average of fewer than 400 students to more than 4,000 attendees weekly. Like many other churches in America in the early twentieth century, Henrietta's church used a unified curriculum throughout its Sunday School. This meant that everyone in the Sunday School studied the same lesson, regardless of which class they attended. While Henrietta understood the reasoning for this approach, she felt there was a better way to involve people in Bible study. She designed a Sunday School curriculum that covered the entire Bible and contained a separate lesson written for each age level's Sunday School class. She loved to say, "I didn't grade children, God did." Because she wanted Sunday School material for each age level, she began writing her own curriculum, which eventually became the foundation of Gospel Light curriculum. Her eleventh-grade course, a book-by-book survey of the entire Bible, was published under the titleWhat the Bible Is All About. It continues to be used worldwide as a Bible study resource. Henrietta Mears was not content to just manage a Sunday School and equip teachers to teach. She had a deep love for teaching and appointed herself teacher of a class of college students. Her class grew to include some 600 college students, many of whom were saved or called into full-time Christian service under her ministry. Among those influenced by Miss Mears were Richard Halverson, who went on to serve as Chaplain of the United States Senate, and Bill and Vonnette Bright, who established and led Campus Crusade for Christ to become a world-leading institution for reaching young people. Even Billy Graham identified his visit to Forest Home, a church conference grounds developed by Henrietta Mears, as a significant turning point in his early ministry. In a discussion among leaders in the Sunday School, Henrietta Mears was identified as the single greatest female leader in the Sunday School movement in the twentieth century. She learned to identify and use the gifts God had given her so that she could maximize her effectiveness in ministry. To be an effective teacher, you must discover and identify your unique spiritual gifts. Your gifts are the abilities, or talents, God uses to get His work done. Think about the spiritual gifts that tend to be task-oriented and that shape the way you do ministry for God. These nine task-gifts include

evangelism (see Eph. 4:11) prophecy (see Rom. 12:6) teaching (see Rom. 12:7) exhortation (see Rom. 12:8) shepherding (see Eph. 4:11) mercy (see Rom. 12:8) ministry (see Rom. 12:7; 1 Cor. 12:28) giving (see Rom. 12:8) administration (see Rom 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:28)

God's goal in giving us gifts is not just to help us develop labels for ministry but also to help us find ways to be effective in ministry. When you know your gift, begin thinking about how you can use that gift as a Sunday School teacher. If you are gifted in evangelism, find ways to incorporate the gospel into your lessons in order to lead your students to Christ. If you are gifted in prophecy, God can use you to point others to God's Word for them and, many times, help them to discover sin in their lives. If you are gifted in teaching, study hard to accurately communicate the content of Scripture. If you are gifted in exhortation, motivate your students to apply the lesson in practical ways. If you are gifted in shepherding, tend the Sunday School flock over which you have been given oversight. If you are gifted in showing mercy, be alert to ways you can counsel those in your class. If you are gifted in serving, look for ways to teach the practical implications of Scripture by helping others. If you are gifted in giving, use the insights you have gained to help others with stewardship. If you are gifted in administration, manage well the learning experiences in your class.



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