I started trying out some new stuff in my Sunday School class. Our class is a bit bigger this quarter, and I felt that I needed to make some changes to accommodate the larger class size. I started developing my own PowerPoint presentations for the Bible lessons. The new presentations allow me to more easily illustrate important concepts that I'm trying to teach the kids. They also make it easier to give background information for the stories. It also allows me to have longer lessons since the pictures give them something to focus on while I talk. So now, instead of just describing what leprosy is, I can actually show the kids a picture of a guy that has leprosy and they can see what his skin looks like.
The problem with the PowerPoint presentations, however, is they take a lot of prep time. I'm following the curriculum and I use it as a guide, but I'm mostly making my own presentation. It can take up a lot of time during the week to finish, especially because I usually have to make up my own activities to go with the lesson as well.
At one point, I was wondering if it was worth it. I spend a lot of time during the week developing these lessons, and it's not always easy to see the benefit. I can see that the kids are definitely entertained, but are they actually learning anything? Am I actually contributing to their spiritual growth? When it's midnight on Saturday and I'm Googling for pictures about Lazarus, these kinds of concerns pop into my head.
Well, the other day, I got a very encouraging message from one of my Sunday school parents. They told me that they'd noticed their daughter applying the principles that she learned in Sunday school to her daily life. Here is part of what they wrote:
Yesterday after church L said that one thing she'd learned was
that "nothing is more important than spending time with God ...
nothing". She shared the bible lesson about Martha and Mary. Later,
when it was almost bedtime, I told her that we didn't have enough
time to read both of the things she wanted to read (a Nancy Drew
chapter book and her girls' devotional book), so she would have to
choose one. She was confident in her response: "Well, I know which
one because of what I learned in church today: nothing is more
important than spending time with God ... nothing." What a great
application of that effective teaching!
It is so encouraging to hear that kind of feedback from parents. It makes it a lot easier to put in the extra time working on my Sunday School lessons. I feel like it is a tremendous honor to be a part of the spiritual development of these fantastic kids. I know that I should be giving my best as a Sunday School teacher even if I can't see any of the benefits myself. But somehow, it sure makes things a lot easier when I hear stories like this.