…Because It’s Not Just a Lesson

I recently accepted the opportunity to teach the adult Sunday School class at Fishers Baptist Church, and today was my first class as the teacher. I was grateful to be asked!

Sunday School presents unique opportunities for a more interactive style of communication, and for building community, that can sometimes go underutilized. I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’m being intentional with this opportunity:

  • Our physical environment is the main worship space, where the seating is divided into four sections in a semi-circle shape. I began our time by asking everyone to come together into the middle two sections, a request they complied with mostly willingly. 🙂 Physical proximity changes the dynamic of any environment, and awareness of physical presence sometimes is a first step toward engaging at other levels.
  • As part of my other roles at the church, I generally wear a suit or sportcoat and slacks, with ties and, if I say so myself, some pretty sweet pocket squares. But for this environment, I wanted to project a less formal presence, and send a message of willingness to get to work. So I took off the sportcoat and rolled up my sleeves.

I struck this pose after I rolled up my sleeves. That wasn’t weird, was it?

  • I used a lectern on the main floor of the worship space, and did not use the pulpit/platform. It puts me closer to the group, and also sends the message that this time/setting is different from the worship service, and has different purposes.
  • I explained to the class that I had three things I wanted to accomplish in this setting: to facilitate building relationships, work together on the rhythms that allow our relationship with God to grow and deepen, and study the Scriptures together (I’m using James Dyet‘s study of Colossians as a base).
  • I encouraged the class that, though it would be hard sometimes, being honest and open would help us to build relationships God could use to meet needs. I asked if anyone in the class had something that was weighing on their mind going into this week, and a young mother mentioned that she had finals coming up. I asked her how we could pray for her, and she wasn’t sure, so I asked if anyone else in the class had taken finals before, and others offered specific ways in which they would be praying for her. Then another lady in the class volunteered to watch her young son so she could better prepare. It was a pretty cool moment, and, I hope, a validation of it being worthwhile to push through the discomfort to be more open about our needs with each other.

In whatever role you’ve been given, in whatever sphere of life you’re operating (work? family? church? spirituality?), you have the chance to be more intentional about doing the things, sometimes large but mostly small, that set you up to be successful in your endeavor. These are some of mine: what are yours?

Article by Mike Rowell


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