I have been teaching Sunday School at St. Michael’s for over twenty years! I can’t remember when I started, but I know it was a calling from Lord. Once I started teaching I was hooked! Through the years I’ve taught preschool through second grade. Currently, I teach the K-2 students in the St. Mark classroom. It has been a joy to see so many children grow up at St. Michael’s, having taught them when they were younger.
What I love most about teaching Sunday School is meeting each child and their families. My desire is to make Sunday School a special place to be, where every child feels welcome. Each child has something unique to contribute to our class. It is a privilege to witness their excitement and delight when they share life experiences that apply to the Bible story we are reading. I try to teach and model that each child’s contributions are valued by God and everyone in class. In teaching the Word of God, the children of St. Michael’s have given me many blessings in return!
I have learned that the Love of God does not need to be complicated; knowing that God loves each and every child that comes through the doors is a beautiful and simple thing. If only we could all come to the Lord with a child’s heart! Teaching them to trust in that truth is what the love of God is all about. When we open our Bibles, I tell them that the stories are always true and that they can rely on them in their daily lives. God gives us these cool stories to teach us how to be kind, faithful, caring, and loving to others. The Bible was written for everyone, not just moms and dads and grandpas and grandmas. I always tell them that they matter to God. He is never too busy to care about their needs.
Children learn best when they take ownership in class, whether it’s asking them to read or say a prayer or giving them a chance to share their ideas and opinions. They are always given opportunities for hands-on learning. I tell them that it’s okay to have fun and be silly. I give them chances to scream and shout their joy to the Lord. My favorite thing is making the Bible come to life. Children might come in one day and find a giant whale to decorate or a wedding feast set out on the table. They might act out the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors or go on a “40-day journey” around the church campus.
My hope is that Sunday School would be a place of joy and laughter, where the door is always open. Even if a child can only stop by for 5 minutes, I know that God will use that time positively. Each child matters to God, and everyone has a unique gift that God gave them. When they share those gifts, they’re sharing the love of God with others – and that makes God so happy! I try to reinforce how special they are to God and everyone around them, and how they can be disciples just like we read about in the Bible. When they use their gifts during class, I make sure to praise them for sharing, caring, listening, and contributing.
Sometimes Sunday School doesn’t go according to plan. I have learned that as long as I keep my eyes on the Lord and remember that when God is in charge, amazing things happen! I’ve learned not to get disappointed if things don’t go the way I intended in a lesson. I know that it is not always about my plan and what I wanted to do. God will take any situation and turn it into a wonderful teachable moment. I try not to let my best get in the way of God’s best (a lesson He teaches me weekly). I have learned to laugh along with God’s sense of humor!
My hope and prayer is that my students find Sunday School to be an exciting place to learn about God’s love, and that they would know they are part of something special here at St. Michael’s by-the-Sea!
Written by Kerima Gleason, Sunday School Teacher.