My kids and I began shopping for school supplies in July. We pulled the supply lists and headed to the local stores in search of the best deals on paper, pencils, markers, notebooks and all the assorted ‘must haves’ to begin another school year. They look forward to returning to school with a bit of excitement and trepidation.
My wife (and many others) began preparing for the beginning of the program year in the church shortly after the last year ended. Wisely, the church has adopted a program year that follows the typical academic calendar – marking the beginning of the year each Fall and its end in late Spring – for the purpose of rest and preparation, and maybe even to build a bit of excitement and trepidation for those who participate.
One of the myths in church educational programming is that it is only for children and ends once a young person has finished a class called “Confirmation” in Jr. High or High School. There is a belief that once we have heard the stories of biblical characters as a child we don’t need to hear them as an adult except when they are retold by the preacher in worship. Yet I haven’t ever participated in a worship service that included a “q and a” period – something that is inherent in educational classes or Bible Study. So a word of encouragement to adults – find an opportunity or offer to begin an opportunity for something new in your church.
One of the great benefits of Christian Education programs is that they combine both classroom and lab opportunities. As the stories of the Bible are told and discussed, those who participate do so in community – in relationship with one another. Only by practicing the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation, of faithfulness and grace in the Sunday School classroom can they be made easier to apply in the world beyond the church.
We begin a new year this week. I invite you to consider being part of something old, yet new!