Perhaps you're thrilled with your church's Sunday school program. Or maybe you've wondered how to help it be even better. The following questions can help your children's ministries improve their weak spots and maximize their strengths.
For each of the 15 statements below, give an A through F grade. You could also share this list with your church's Christian Education director or Sunday–school superintendent for use as an evaluation tool so that all parents can offer feedback for the leaders of children's ministries.
[ ] Understands the stages of development and creates a classroom environment appropriate for my child's age group or grade level.
[ ] Recruits the best qualified and appropriately gifted people to serve as teachers.
[ ] Screens, equips, and provides training for teachers and other workers to ensure my child's safety and security.
[ ] Gives teachers resources, equipment, and other tools appropriate for my child's age or grade level.
[ ] Teaches that the Bible is God's Word and holds it up as the true guide for life; helps my child apply the Bible and its lessons in practical ways.
[ ] Teaches age–appropriate material about basic doctrines (such as baptism, communion, salvation, giving, service to others, etc.) in a manner consistent with our church's beliefs.
[ ] Teaches that God gives all individuals—including children—spiritual gifts for serving one another and to build up the church; provides meaningful opportunities for children to use their gifts in serving others.
[ ] Provides a worship time that reflects the styles and values of my church.
[ ] Teaches the importance of worshipping God individually and together at church.
[ ] Stresses the importance of discipleship by encouraging my child to grow closer to God, to truthfully live more like Jesus, and to help others do the same.
[ ] Encourages my child to pray individually and also offers group prayer times.
[ ] Provides times when my child and others can make a personal commitment to Jesus without pressure from peers or teachers.
[ ] Spends time praying for unchurched friends and family.
[ ] Provides me with tools to reinforce lessons throughout the week.
Naturally, no church can do all of this perfectly, but these questions can offer a great starting place for making your church's children's programs a vital part of your Christian community.
Brad Lewis, a member of the CPT Advisory Board, lives with his wife and two sons in Colorado Springs.
Copyright © 2004 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian Parenting Today magazine.Click here for reprint information on Christian Parenting Today.