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Thread: My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

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    My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

    I teach the "Pre-Teen" class at our church and am loving it. Fifth and sixth graders are mostly pliable, teachable and cooperative. A delightful age to both have fun with, but also to nudge up against some pretty necessary teachings for their present and future.

    Here's the problem. Most (not all) of the kids we have in our class, even the ones that have been around for their entire lives, are basically unable to grasp the basics of the Bible. Many of our children are from homes where the Bible is not taught. One student attends Christian School.

    I've been using Grapple material and have enjoyed its relevance and ease of use, but have become increasingly displeased with the material's "assumptive-ness" about the size and condition and culture of the class ("Now divide your class into groups and have them discuss...") and about their familiarity with the Bible.

    Is there a "Bible Survey" class for children, Pre-Teens, that takes a few weeks to cover the basics...Old Testament, New Testament, history, prophets. gospels, church history, global expansion, etc.? I am very concerned now about turning bunch of basic pagans over to Student Ministries (teens).

    Four children from my class opened their hearts to Jesus as Savior and Lord yesterday. This has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of all my ministry. We had sixteen in the class yesterday! My goal is to have 24 before the end of the year! One reason this has been so fulfilling to me is the statistic that 80% of all who receive Christ do so before age sixteen. If that is the case, it makes sense to me that most of our major emphasis should be on exposing children to Truth!

    I'm very seriously open to your ideas about how to "disciple" kids through Sunday School.

    Friend,

    Wes
    Thanks Susan Unger, Daniel Hamlin - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

    If there is not such a curriculum that you wish for I believe you can write and develop it on your own. Go get em, Wes.
    Thanks Andy Mistak, Gina Stevenson - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

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    Re: My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    Is there a "Bible Survey" class for children, Pre-Teens, that takes a few weeks to cover the basics...Old Testament, New Testament, history, prophets. gospels, church history, global expansion, etc.? I am very concerned now about turning bunch of basic pagans over to Student Ministries (teens).
    If you find something, I'd sure like to know about it. Those same kids are likely to need a refresher course when they get to be young adults. Bible literacy seems to be sort of like geography. When identifying the states on a US map, I could never remember whether Colorado or Wyoming was farther north until I went there. Since that visit 40 years ago I have never again been confused. We really need to find a way to "travel" through the geography of the Bible. During our current study of the Minor Prophets, I have been a bit wistful that my adults were children so I could require them to memorize the books of the Bible. I'm never sure whether they are as biblically illiterate as they let on or if they just aren't confident enough to share what they know.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    Four children from my class opened their hearts to Jesus as Savior and Lord yesterday. This has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of all my ministry. We had sixteen in the class yesterday! My goal is to have 24 before the end of the year! One reason this has been so fulfilling to me is the statistic that 80% of all who receive Christ do so before age sixteen. If that is the case, it makes sense to me that most of our major emphasis should be on exposing children to Truth!

    I'm very seriously open to your ideas about how to "disciple" kids through Sunday School.
    Thanks for this wonderful report, Wes. I love Sunday School! And I love that age group.

    More and more I am becoming convinced that true discipleship requires "living" with people. It's nice to have a plan and a curriculum, but the greatest impact comes from allowing people to watch you live, to observe you wrestle with your choices, to see your heart and bask in your love for them. That may be one of the biggest challenges of growth. Jesus chose 12 disciples. I wonder how many of us can effectively disciple more than that number.

    In the end, however, God must be God and love must be enough. How you love them is far more central to discipleship than any prepared lesson.

    Marsha
    "Pacifism does not mean doing nothing. It means waging peace." - John Watson http://feedly.com/e/s2B2hnZT
    personal blog: www.marshalyn.blogspot.com Sunday School blog: www.ocnya.blogspot.com
    Thanks Gina Stevenson, Charlotte 'Mercer' Burton - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Andy Mistak's Avatar

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    Re: My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

    If there is an "official" Nazarene catechism curriculum, I bet it could be easily adapted to fit your needs, and Marsha's too. If there isn't one from the CON, I bet you can find a catechism from another Wesleyan denomination that would be usable.

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    Senior Member Marsha Lynn's Avatar

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    Re: My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Mistak View Post
    If there is an "official" Nazarene catechism curriculum, I bet it could be easily adapted to fit your needs, and Marsha's too. If there isn't one from the CON, I bet you can find a catechism from another Wesleyan denomination that would be usable.
    There at least used to be one and it was recommended for preteens. I taught it to 6th-grade kids over 20 years ago

    Maybe I misunderstood the question. I thought Wes was looking more towards Bible literacy than faith literacy. If the need is for a catechism, it would be worth checking to see if NPH still produces one. For adults, there is a new set of three books out covering the basics. I came home from Orland last year with at least the first of them but haven't seriously considered using it for Sunday School. Most of my group have been through the articles of faith either in Caravan or a membership class. However, that hasn't made them biblically literate.

    Hmm... the Caravan material used to have multiple "badges" that might be useful, Wes. When I was involved in that program (15 years ago), there was one for the history of the Church of the Nazarene, one for the Articles of Faith, one for Bible memorization, one for which they learned the books of the Bible (not sure what the badge was called).
    "Pacifism does not mean doing nothing. It means waging peace." - John Watson http://feedly.com/e/s2B2hnZT
    personal blog: www.marshalyn.blogspot.com Sunday School blog: www.ocnya.blogspot.com

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    Re: My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post

    Four children from my class opened their hearts to Jesus as Savior and Lord yesterday. This has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of all my ministry. We had sixteen in the class yesterday! My goal is to have 24 before the end of the year! One reason this has been so fulfilling to me is the statistic that 80% of all who receive Christ do so before age sixteen. If that is the case, it makes sense to me that most of our major emphasis should be on exposing children to Truth!
    How fulfilling that must have been for you, Wes!

    Concerning the material...I've had the same issue, Wes, only with NPH material. The lesson would begin with "The Israelites had been in the desert for 40 years when...." My kids would ask, "What? Why were they in a desert for 40 years?" It seemed like every lesson was akin to opening the Bible and starting to read wherever it opened. There wasn't much background material to build up to the moment of the lesson. I think the reason was because each month was divided into a THEME, so therefore we were all over the Bible with that theme. I completely understood why they did it that way, but it did create some "understanding of the story" problems. One of the best lessons NPH put out was a Children's Church lesson on Joseph. They spread it out over 4 to 5 weeks and each week built on the previous one. I wrote NPH about the issue once and they acknowledged it was a problem. This was a few years ago, so maybe things are better. But it sounds like it may be a problem with alot of children's curriculum.

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    Senior Member Charlotte 'Mercer' Burton's Avatar

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    Re: My Pre-Teen Sunday School Class...

    Quote Originally Posted by Marsha Lynn View Post
    More and more I am becoming convinced that true discipleship requires "living" with people. It's nice to have a plan and a curriculum, but the greatest impact comes from allowing people to watch you live, to observe you wrestle with your choices, to see your heart and bask in your love for them. That may be one of the biggest challenges of growth. Jesus chose 12 disciples. I wonder how many of us can effectively disciple more than that number.

    In the end, however, God must be God and love must be enough. How you love them is far more central to discipleship than any prepared lesson.
    I strongly agree with this. I know I'm not a preteen, but I can tell you what I hear from youth in the church (largely from people my age looking back to their teenage and preteen years). The thing I most often hear my friends praising their former youth pastors for is not the verbal instruction or teaching, but the modeling. Those people who tell me their former youth pastor is the reason they're Christian today almost always attribute this influence to the pastor's genuine love for them, being there for them in their time of need and being genuine with them. "If you are never vulnerable with me, then why would I be vulnerable with you," seems to be the idea.

    On the other side, the complaint I most often hear regarding youth groups is the impression that many teens seem to get that "you're just too young to really understand." I know that it has always been important to me to be allowed to think freely. One of the things I'm most grateful for (especially having gone to a Christian college and seen how many of my peers did not get this benefit) is the fact that I always had a place where I could safely ask any questions I had without my teacher (often my father) responding defensively or implying that I was too young to understand the answer. I understand that many people won't always speak up to ask questions, but I do think that it is important to create an environment, when possible, where questions - even difficult ones that may sound heretical - are met with love and with real, honest answers, even when the honest answer is "I don't know. I've never thought of that. Let me do some research, and I'll get back to you." I think people will be drastically more willing to listen to and respect your message when they can clearly see that you love, listen to, and respect them for who they are. This may be especially true of preteens who are so often struggling to figure out where they fit in in society - no longer children, but not yet teens or adults.
    "God is still God, and love is still enough." ~Brad Mercer
    יִהְיֶה יהוה עוֹד יהוה וְהִשְׁלִים עוֹד חֶסֶד
    Thanks Hans Deventer - "thanks" for this post

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