My wife does a lot of preschool Sunday School conferences. One visual example that I have seen her use is to take a piece of twine that is 168 inches in length and have two volunteers come to the front to hold it out its full length. One inch of it is painted black. You see 168 are the number of hours in a week. The black inch represents the one-hour we have on Sunday morning each week to teach preschoolers about Jesus. For many of these children, this will be the only time they hear about Jesus all week. That’s why it is so
important to use that hour fully and wisely. It is also why we must partner with families to help them teach their children the Biblical truths of God’s Word at home. One hour a week at church just won’t cut it!
So who is responsible for family Bible study? First of all the parents should take responsibility to be the primary Bible teachers and disciples of their children (Deuteronomy 4:6-9). The church should seek to build on, and support the work of, the home and
How can a church partner with families in Bible study? In the Lifeway resource book – “Ten Best Practices to Make Your Sunday School Work” – these ideas are given:
- Provide a designated Bible study group for every family member. There should be a place for everyone no matter their age, need, or situation.
- Provide Resources for Every Family Member. The Bible is the primary resource, of course. But supplemental Bible study resources such as learners guides, take home sheets and devotional guides can enhance and strengthen family Bible study.
- Lead By Example. Sunday School leaders are responsible to be exemplary in discipleship and to model the powerful effects of God’s Word in life.
- Help Families to Reach Other Families. Encourage families to look for opportunities to reach other families. Many non-believers have come to know Christ through the influence of loving Christian families and friends.
- Partner with Parents of Preschoolers and Children. Preschool and Children’s leaders and parents can link together to support and reinforce Bible teachings so the children can obtain strong spiritual foundations for conversion later in life. In addition, your preschool and children’s Sunday School can provide parenting conferences, seminars, and support groups.
- Other examples given are: Partner with Parents of Youth; Expand Your Definition of Family; Be a Partner to Adults.
The family is a powerful influence in building, or possibly destroying, personal faith. Many times I have heard non-believers say they wanted nothing to do with God or the church because of failures or inconsistencies they observed in a parent or family member. As Sunday School leaders, we must acknowledge the powerful influence of the family and commit to developing the kind of partnership with families that will result in family members accepting and growing in Christ.
Mark Donnell serves as the Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist for the Missouri Baptist Convention