Posted in Grace, Ministry

I wish I could teach kids every week

Taking a break from teaching adults, I taught the kids in Sunday School today. For the summer, rather than having age-grouped classes, the ministries in our church (e.g. prayer shawls, choir, food bank, etc.) are each taking a week to help the children understand that activity and tie it in with a Bible story.

To kick things off, I represented the pastoral ministry of the church. With a wide selection of activities in my arsenal, I waded into the classroom and really had fun today. It’s been a while since I got to teach kids. We looked for lost sheep in the sanctuary, put band-aids on to remind us that pastors visit the sick, read the story from Nehemiah where God’s word was read and explained to the people, came up with worship words that were appropriate for God, and of course, had a snack. The high school class was there to help — a God-send to be sure.

How different each child was (no surprise). One just wanted to run. One just wanted to snack. One couldn’t wait to read from a new Bible he brought along with him. One filled a page with worship words. Another spent the whole time collecting trash. And I think most of them took home the Bible words, “Shepherd the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:2).

Rather than teaching adult classes on Sunday morning, I think I would pay to have the chance to teach children for a year. Even a quarter. I justĀ love teaching kids. Someday, when I’m retired, and attending church, you can count on me to to teach a children’s Sunday School class.

Posted in Grace, Life, Ministry

Confirmation

Today was confirmation day at our church. Those who grew up Lutheran might wonder how I arrived at the last Sunday in April. I do like Palm Sunday, one traditional day for confirmation, but it often falls during spring break so some years that doesn’t work well. I love Pentecost, too, but when Easter is late in April, that sometimes occurs after school is out in Florida, so that can be difficult, too. So I’ve done the first Sunday in May for a long time, except for this year when I feared that my daughter’s college graduation might be that Sunday. So adapting to a multitude of secular conventions, we went for it today.

And it was great. I love teaching middle schoolers, confirmation classes, and the rite of confirmation. If no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3) then days like this are very powerful. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not so much about what they know, although we cover a lot of material with the Small Catechism. It’s more about who they are. I always pray that emerge from the confirmation experience realizing that they are children of God, who have “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:15). I also pray that they’ve developed a relationship with a pastor and a church, so that no matter what else changes in their lives, they can always go back and find the unchanging, unconditional love of God in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps this is a special event for me because I vividly remember my own confirmation nearly forty years ago. At the time, it seemed like I had arrived. In retrospect, I was just getting started. When I got to the seminary and we began to review Christian doctrine, I realized a lot sounded very familiar to me. My pastor, the late Rev. Donald Sallach, had done an excellent job of teaching me the basics. I only hope that to some extent, I can do the same.