Children Who Knew God (January 29–February 19, 2012)

Teaching in General

When teaching young children (preschoolers), we have a wonderful opportunity to bring life into the classroom through centers. Children may quietly read a book about Jesus, look in wonder at a leaf through a magnifying glass, or build with blocks. When Johnny snatches the red block from Sammy, leading Sammy to scream at Johnny, the teacher mediates, but lets the children work it out by asking, “Is there a better way to share the red block than grabbing it or screaming?” It takes awhile, but after some protests, the children decide to build something together. Susie spills the paint and instead of a reprimand, the teacher hands her a towel to clean up the paint, and praises her for being a helper. Some time ago, I watched children in the homeliving center prepare an elaborate feast. They pulled pots and pans out of the cabinet, filled them with imaginary food of all sorts from the refrigerator and pantry, and cooked the food on the play stove. They set the table, served the food and invited Carolyn Montgomery, their teacher that day, to the feast. She pulled up to the head of the table in her tiny chair and admired the sumptuous meal laid out before her. Carolyn suggested, “Before we eat this good food, what do you think we should do?” “Pray,” one of the preschoolers answered. And, so Ms. Montgomery led the children in a beautiful prayer of thanks, modeling thankfulness to God in all things.

Oh, if only we could teach adults this way—by bringing life into the classroom. Maybe we could set up a pretend office in the classroom and let adults pretend to work in the office. You as the teacher could observe, interact, mediate relational disputes by helping adults think of the most constructive ways to deal with conflict, model appropriate behavior, offer praise and encouragement for appropriate action, and help adults reflect on everyday life from a faith perspective. Okay maybe not, but there are other ways we can bring life into the adult classroom. We can be transparent, confessional, and vulnerable in sharing our own faith struggles and victories and encourage members to do the same. We can create a safe environment for bringing our life stories into the classroom. We can use illustrations that are relevant to the situations we face during the week. We can encourage open and honest dialogue. We can use case studies and role-plays. We can ask, “What is the Bible saying to me and to us as a community?” and “How does this passage apply to my life?” We can allow time for prayerful reflection on the scripture and life. We can approach scripture not just in an analytical way, but allow the scripture to transform our hearts, minds, and life. We can approach God with the curiosity and openness of a child.

Introduction to the Unit

Children at LABC

This unit looks at what we can learn from four children in the Bible and how God used them. Use this month as an opportunity to get in touch with the children at our church and in your life. Think about how God is using them. Here are some suggestions for how you might be intentional about this:

•    Learn about the various children’s ministries, activities, and programs. Take a walk through the children’s area and invite your class members to do the same. Talk to Tara Farmer about children’s ministry at LABC. Consider inviting Tara to come speak to your class briefly about children’s ministry (note: Feb. 19 is not a good day for Tara to visit because of a children’s activity that day.)
•    Look for opportunities to greet and talk to children in our church.
•    The children will host an open house on Sunday, February 12, 9:15-9:45 a.m. to give you a chance to meet the children and see their space.
•    Additional suggestions for connecting with children can be found within the lesson suggestions.

Parenting Issues
Those of you who have parents in your class, might focus on some parenting issues during these sessions. Keep an ongoing list of parenting principles gleaned from these Bible studies. We used a book last year, Ten Best Parenting Ways to Ruin Your Child by Israel Galindo. It’s small, easy to read, and insightful. You might get a copy and refer to it and maybe your class can make up additional chapter titles as you go through the unit (For example: “Give Just One of Your Children a Coat of Many Colors,” from February 5 lesson).

Author of the Lessons
You may have already noticed that the author of this unit is Josh Speight, the Associate Coordinator for Missions for Kentucky Baptist Fellowship. Josh has spoken in our church and visited numerous times. He coordinates Kentucky Baptist Fellowship work in Nada and Morocco in which we are deeply involved.