On June 24 the congregation heard how significant the Sunday Morning Education program at GSLC has been to his family.
My name is Brian Grant. My family and I have been members at Good Shepherd for 6 years and I’ve been a children’s Sunday Morning Education teacher for 2 of those years. I’d like to open today with a reading from Psalm 78:
1 My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.
5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,
6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.
7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
When my wife Tania and I were searching for a new church community several years ago, one thing we knew for certain was that we needed to find a community that shared our values, especially regarding faith formation. We had mixed experiences in the past with this, and felt strongly that it was one of the most important aspects of any faith community. We’ve always believed that passing our faith to our children is among the most important aspects of our role as parents. Moreover, we felt that entire faith communities must share in the responsibility of passing faith traditions on from one generation to another. We are all called to evangelize; and who can be more important to receive the Good News than our community’s children?
Tania and I strongly believed we found that focus on faith formation at Good Shepherd. This was a faith community that took faith formation very seriously. Sunday Morning Education was a major part of the church experience at Good Shepherd. Class offerings were robust and integrated into each Sunday morning rather than being relegated to a random evening when no one was here. Several years later when the church moved to a schedule that put SME between the two services and removed competition between a service and SME, this even further improved the experience. Since then, this community has improved further still by offering excellent innovative programs such as multi-generational classes.
However, despite all these great options, it has always been a struggle to recruit teachers to cover the children’s classes. Every year we’ve been here, we’ve experienced Brenda Dozer, SME Coordinator, sending a series of emails over the summer. These emails start with “please consider teaching” then move on to “we really need teachers” then finally to “we will not be able to have your kid’s class if someone doesn’t step forward.” This has always begged the question: What prevents us as a community from rallying around this critical ministry?
When children are introduced to the church during a baptism, we all stand up and proclaim that we as a community promise to pass on the faith to the newly baptized child. This promise is not just made by parents and godparents; it’s made by the entire church. Teaching Sunday Morning Education is a great way to fulfill this promise, and the classes themselves are essential to the faith formation of our children.
This morning I’d like to encourage everyone to prayerfully consider if you are being called to help pass on the faith. Let’s break the cycle, and flood Brenda with offers to teach before any emails go out. Anyone could be a good teacher of children, not just parents. We all have gifts to share, and many of us have a gift of the ability to connect with children. That’s really the only skill that’s required. You don’t have to be a theologian, bible expert, or someone with years of teaching experience. You will be provided with all the tools and support necessary to help pass on the faith to our children. And I can say from personal experience that you will receive just as many rewards from helping our children grow as they will receive by learning from your experience.
Thanks so much for your time and consideration to serve in this wonderful ministry.
Contact Brenda Dozer if you are interested in serving as a Sunday Morning Education teacher or resource.
The Seeds of Faith ministry team coordinates many of the educational opportunities at Good Shepherd.