Connecting with people, connecting with purpose, and connecting with God are the three goals I keep in mind when preparing a children’s Sunday school lesson. Some lessons focus on one of those three things and some focus on all three at the same time.
Our recent Sunday school unit, Women of Faith, focused on women in the Bible who helped others. The children then took these stories and engaged in interactive activities to experience the story more deeply. One of the activities was to cook an entire meal for a family in need in our church. For four weeks in a row, Jackie Harper led each group of children through the Bible story and then through the process of cooking a meal. The children also learned about the Soup Sisters ministry in our church and they made cards to send to each family who was receiving the meal they made. The families who received the meals are all young families in our church who have had a variety of struggles recently: unemployed parent, ill parent, death of a parent, etc.
The children connected to this particular Sunday school lesson in a very meaningful way. It might be because they got to cook with Mrs. Jackie (who wouldn’t love that)! It might be because they got to sample a small taste of the food when they are finished cooking (a yummy morning snack)! However, I think the children connected more with this particular lesson because all three themes of discipleship (connecting with people, purpose, and God) were happening. The children were connecting with God through the story and through their prayer and worship time in class. They were connecting with people as they cooked and prepared a meal with one another and wrote heartfelt messages in homemade cards. They were connecting with purpose as they helped to package the meal and the cards to be delivered to a family in our church who they knew to be in need.
These kids are incredible. When given the opportunity to help others, to love others, to serve others, to connect more deeply with one another and to deepen their relationship with God – they responded. Yes, a group of children in 1st-5th grade working together to make a meal can be chaotic and a little tricky. However, in this case, it was sacred, it was holy, it was meaningful, it was purposeful, it was love. It is such a blessing to have these incredible children with us in Sunday school and it is a very special blessing to have such amazing adults like Jackie Harper in our church serving with our children each week.