I love Sunday school! It is awesome. I love being a Sunday school teacher. I love children and seeing them get excited about Jesus. I love it when they are excited about knowing their memory verse. I love it when they can remember the lesson in detail several weeks after I taught it. And what can be more rewarding than to see them worshiping, weeping at the altar, being baptized in Jesus’ name, and receiving the Holy Ghost?
I believe that all children, from the pastor’s children to the dirtiest van kids, are masterpieces created by the Master Artist! Masterpieces are unique creations that are priceless, and that is what children are! We have one hour or so each week with the Sunday school kids. We must let them know each time we have them that Jesus loves them, that they are special, that He cares about them, that if something touches their heart, it touches His heart, that Jesus is their hope, and that we love them. We must also teach them that they must repent, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and receive the Holy Ghost!
We live in a community where there are a lot of migrant workers. We may have some of the kids once that we never see again. So the time that we have them is very important and very precious!
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 86:15: “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” These are just a few of the characteristics of God that I want the kids to see in me when they are in Sunday school. I want Jesus’ love to flow from me. I want them to come into our Sunday school class and see a smiling, prepared Sunday school teacher. A smile is worth a thousand words and sometimes the words they hear at home are not happy ones and the faces they see are frequently not smiling faces. I want them to know that they are important and I did not just throw things together at the last minute.
I want them to see me excited about Sunday school. I want my room to be appealing and exciting. We have to compete with cell phones, computers, video games, and Hollywood. We have to decorate our rooms to stir their imagination. Who would want to come to Sunday school if there were not exciting things going on? If we get the kids excited about coming to Sunday school then they will want to come. If they come, we can tell them about Jesus and get them excited about Jesus. Then when kids get excited about something they will tell everyone about Jesus and their Sunday school.
I want to know the kids by name so well that I do not have to stutter or think about it. I want to know the kids so well that their names just come out naturally. If there are visitors that I see only once in my class, I want to be able to call them by name two weeks later when I see them at the store. Their names are important and I want them to know they mean so much to me that I take time to know their names. Sometimes the names they are called at home are not their names so it is even more important that I can call them by their real name. I once saw a girl who used to come to The Masterpiece Club. She had been absent from my class for approximately a year. I said “Hey, Winter! How have you been?” I wish you could have seen the way her eyes lit up and the big smile that came across her face! It was as though she had just won a prize! She said, “You remember me?” I said, “Yes, and I miss you! When are you going to come back?” Knowing the kids’ names is important!
It is amazing to see the moment that a child realizes the things that you have been teaching about Jesus are true. One day a Hispanic boy who comes to my class stood up for Jesus. He told about how thankful he was that his dad didn’t get hurt when the police arrested him for drugs. He was very detailed in telling the story because he had witnessed most of what happened. Later he wanted us to pray that his dad would not have to stay in jail for fifteen years. We prayed with him that his dad wouldn’t be in jail that long. Later, he testified that his dad’s jail sentence had been reduced to twelve years. It was great to be able to tell him, “See, Jesus loves you! He answered your prayer!” He cares about what you care about! We had been telling him this over and over, but at this moment he got to see that it was true.
Vacation Bible school is a life-changing outreach to the children of the community. When we do VBS, we want to go all out! It has to be over the top! Sometimes parents come and they are amazed that we put that much effort into a week of excitement for their children. If one child is saved or one new family is gained during VBS it was worth all the time, effort, and money we put into it!
I want my burden for children and Sunday school to be contagious and infect other people. I want everyone in our church to be a part of changing a child’s life. I want the kids to see and feel the love of Jesus in everyone they come in contact with at our church. I want them to see smiling faces and feel safe and not afraid. I want them to know that Jesus is the hope for their situation no matter how hopeless it may look to them. I want us to be a part of getting them connected to Christ where cycles of addiction and abuse can be broken. I want to see them repent at our altars, be baptized in Jesus’ name, and receive the Holy Ghost!
Lesia Willett is the Sunday School director for the First Pentecostal Church in Kennett, Missouri. Donald Sheerin serves as pastor and Carroll McGruder serves as bishop.
This article “Sunday School” by Lesia Willett was excerpted from: Pentecostal Herald magazine. November 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.