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Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Sep 25, 2005.
How is your Sunday School set up?
Sunday School teachers generally follow published lesson plans approved by the church. A few teachers prefer preparing their own lessons so that they can be geared more toward our local needs. These are, of course, subject to approval of the church.
It is interesting that this came up today because yesterday my daughter and I were discussing this.
I believe there is a difference in prayerfully choosing a lesson, and taking advantage of published material available to supplement your lesson and in letting someone dictate what you will deliver as God's message, months in advance, from some state you may never even have been to.
These churches that so carefully follow the pre-published plans, and their schedules, worry me. It smells like something other denominations do.
Where is God's spontaneous hand? Where is addressing the individual needs of your class?
School teachers write their own lesson plans with a principal and school board guiding them. I feel Sunday School teachers should write their own lesson plans with God and the church guiding them.
I teach teen Sunday School in our church. Pretty much the way I run things is the teens and myself decide a book of the Bible that we want to study, and then I prepare lessons on it. We try to do one chapter a week, so that we don't get bogged down and the teens won't be bored. (The church I grew up in, the Pastor made the lesson plans for the teachers. I think we were in Acts for over 3 years...)
We try to alternate between old and New Testaments.
I try to do the lesson in an expositional style, with lots of interaction and questions.
This has worked well for us.
Generally speaking, We use a variety of materials. Some classes use denominational published materials (SBC, Smyth & Helwys, etc.) some are doing studies of books. OUr Youth and Children use denominational materials.
Our organization leaves a lot to be desired.
Also, some of our people have lost the vision for what Sunday School is. Some are loyal to a teacher and not the functions/purposes of Sunday School. As a ministeial staff we are guiding our people through a "revisioning" time so that we can recapture the vision of ministry.
Our church is in the midst of major change, with an influx of a lot of new people. In order to meet them where they are, I as SS Superintendent have had to depart from the old SS then church model of old. Here's what we do, at least for now:
9:30-10:30 (what used to be SS hour)
Little ones in nursery
Grades K-6 all together for something like Children's church - "KidsPraise"
Youth and adults in various classes
10:30-close ("big church")
Little ones in nursery
Youth and adults in worship service
Grades K-1 and 2-3 in 2 age grouped classes, basically doing SS plus crafts, games, snack
Grades 4-6 in worship service until the sermon, when we exit for SS class.
We had to do this because we have not been able to coax most of the new families out at 9:30 - they just come to church. So the thought was to do the main Bible learning for the kids at the time most of them are there - during church.
Our church uses lessons prepared by LifeWay. My Adult Sunday School Class is studying Life Ventures based on Family Bible Study. While these are published in another state many of the lessons are prepared by local retired missionaries and preachers. The lessons can always be adapted to fit what is going on in our life and community. Our teacher spends a lot of time preparing for the lesson and the aids from Lifeway assist her.
Even though these are written months in advance, I am always amazed at how well they seem to apply to what is going on at the time.
My husband's class uses LifeWay, but they are studying, "Explore the Bible". These lessons take them through a study of the entire Bible.
I think it is good to have some uniform approved lessons.
We each have a Learner Guide that we can study before class and be ready to discuss the lesson. The teacher has a teacher's guide and other visual aids.
When we completed the books, we donate them to nursing homes or other churches.
I think that it is especially important for the church leaders to know what is being taught to the children and youth of the church.
I agree with you regarding the importance of church leaders knowing what is being taught.
I remember once when the church I was attending at that time was looking for a pastor the search committee came up with a list of questions for prospective pastors to fill out. They wanted someone, and we all agree, who was going to teach and preach the Bible correctly. I got to thinking that a (youth, childs, or even adult )SS teacher has potentially to be as damaging or maybe even more when it comes to teaching incorrectly.
I've been teaching adult SS for over seven years. For the most part, I have chosen my own materials. I have used Precept, Lifeway, and other small group studies. For the few quarters we taught the same material as a church , we used Regular Baptist Press.
Been teaching an adult SS class for four or five years now..... We go chapter by chapter thru the New Testament. The SS director has attempted to change the format to structured teachings but my class would have none of it....
I've been teaching adult Sunday School for about 7 years. We have a medium sized church (about 250 in worship services) and all of our adult Sunday School teachers are either active or inactive Deacons so it's not felt that there's a need for anyone to review the materials used. I personally have used a lot of materials from the preaching and teaching of Rev. Ray Stedman (diseased) from the Penninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto CA.
I attended that church while I was in graduate school and thought very highly of him. During his ministry he preached serial sermons on most of the major books of the Bible. I've also used material from the Texas Baptist convention and the American Baptists.
I had to answer "other" on the first 2 questions because we have 3 services and have SS during all 3 (especially the last 2) and some classes use published materials while others do not.
I attend the early service at 8:30 (usually) and then go to 2 SS classes.