I was recently asked by my church if I would like to be in charge of choosing curriculum for the children’s Sunday school classes. I immediately answered, “Yes!” as this was a burden God had put on my heart. I knew it was going to be difficult because there is very little curriculum available which teaches the “meat” of the word and is apologetic (defending the faith) in nature.
I was browsing a SS forum when I came across a SS curriculum that had a short video. It began with a countdown of how many weekends you have with a child until they are in the 12th grade. It was quite sobering and gave you the feeling that you had better make wise use of your time as SS teacher (which is a good thing!)
Then the video stated, “There are five things every kid needs between now and when they graduate.” I was really hoping it would include at least some aspects of my “top five” (at least for SS teachers), which include (in no particular order): the Bible is trustworthy and authoritative, the Gospel, apologetics, evangelism, and life application of the Bible. However, to my dismay, only my last point made their top five.
Here are their top five (with my comments following each statement):
1) A really big God they can trust no matter what happens. . . .God is big enough to handle anything.While this statement is true, it is not apologetic in nature. What our children need most is to be equipped to answer the questions that are being asked in this age, such as: Why is there death and suffering in the world? What about dinosaurs? What about evolution? What about the truthfulness of God’s Word? With this curriculum, I’m afraid the only answer they would be equipped to give is, “God is big.”
2) Someone else who believes what they believe. . . . friends . . . ultimately influence decisions they make in life.It’s good for children to have friends who believe similarly because their friends will influence them. But we must also instill in our children the idea of individual responsibility to God and that our faith in Christ and the truth of God’s Word is not dependent on their friends’ beliefs.
3) Another voice saying the same things as their parents. Our leaders connect with your kids as friends and mentors.Children don’t need SS teachers to be friends; they need them to be an authority figure—a mentor. Friends and mentors have very different roles.
4) Uncommon sense, to help them make wise choices. We make sure the Bible is never boring.So, what the Bible teaches is “uncommon sense,” and usually boring? The focus of this curriculum is on decision making, virtues, and the Bible as a moral guide versus the ultimate source of truth and knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). It’s a version of what is referred to as moralism, packaged for kids.
5) Nosey parents who know where their kids are spiritually. We know that what happens at home is more important than what happens at church. So, we want to equip parents with tools to build faith and character in their kids.This point I can wholeheartedly agree with at least as far as parental involvement in what children are learning at church. Parents should be reinforcing what is learned in Sunday school at home and looking for practical ways to apply it.
We don’t need SS curriculum telling our kids how to be good and moral. We need SS curriculum that gives them the foundation for why they should be good and moral. We need SS curriculum that teaches our children the authority and truthfulness of God’s Word and equips them to “demolish arguments and every pretensions that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
In case you didn’t know, AiG will be releasing a three-year SS curriculum, entitled, Answers for Bible. It will be for all ages and include ways that families can incorporate what is learned in church into family devotions. The principles that form the foundation for the curriculum are: the Bible is trustworthy, God’s attributes, a chronological/historical teaching of the entire Bible, the Bible’s redemption, apologetics, and life application of the Bible. I can’t wait!
Don’t forget the Answers for Women webinar and live chat today! Check out answersforwomen.org for more information.