If you grew up in the church, you may have warm memories about that one Sunday school teacher who made an amazing difference in your young life. Times have changed in many churches. Your kids might have different teachers every week. While kids can still form bonds with these teachers, it's more important than ever that we as parents take an active role in our children's spiritual formation. Consider these ideas:
- Become the constant factor yourself. Review Sunday school classes with your child by asking simple questions: What did you talk about today? What was the story about? What do you discover about God?
- Ask the Sunday school superintendent or one of the teachers for an outline of the weekly lessons so you can stress important points at home. If you do family devotions, tie your family time into what your children are doing at church.
- Look at the positive. While your kids might not develop deep relationships with individual teachers, they do have the opportunity to see faith lived out in the lives of several adults.
- If you're convinced that your kids (and others in the class) would be better off with the same teacher each week, here are two solutions to try:
- Inquire whether four rotating teachers might lead for a whole quarter (13 weeks) and then take off the other three-fourths of the year. While your kids will still have four different teachers, they'll have some continuity for a few months before going through a transition.
- Volunteer to lead a class for a month so leaders can see if children fare better in classes with continuity. If that's just not doable for you, offer to help recruit a teacher or two to volunteer for longer periods.
Brad Lewis, a member of the CPT Advisory Board, lives with his wife and two sons in Colorado Springs.
When your kids enter their teen years, it's pretty common for them to point out (not always so subtly) hypocritical people in the church. Worse, they might feel like giving up on their faith when they feel like their own behavior seems hypocritical. When this happens, discuss these behaviorsand the accompanying versesto see how God knows and uses our sinful natures:
- Pointing out others' sins when you can't stop your own sinning (1 John 1:8-9).
- Bragging about personal spiritual growth when you feel spiritually cold (Eph. 4:23-24).
- Praying for friends to come to Christ when you're afraid to talk with them about your faith (John 15:4-5).
- Talking about love when you can't stand someone in your youth group (Eph. 5:1-2).
- Acting happy at church when you feel miserable inside (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
- Hating it when friends brag but not able to stop boasting yourself (1 Thess. 4:11-12).
- Asking for prayer when you're not sure God answers prayer (1 John 5:14-15).
As kids get older, they often want to discover faith for themselves. For some kids, this search leads them to other churches or organizations. Sadly, there are several cults with "Christian" overtones that prey on teenagers and young adults. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry website offers lists, definitions, and descriptions of cults to help you and your child recognize the warning signs. Go to www.carm.org/cults.htm.
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