This Sunday at St. Paul’s, Nobleton, we will celebrate our annual “child-led” service. This is something I’ve never experienced before, and I’m looking forward to it. As part of the service, two of our young people who are completing secondary school this spring will give testimonies of what God has done in their lives over the course of their years in the church’s Christian education ministry. And the children will lead us in worship.
Not being able to resist the opportunity, I will be busting another myth, that being the myth that when we “graduate” from Sunday school, our Christian education is over. It would be so easy to just say that and sit down, I suppose, but it will warrant some explanation.
We all know somebody who disliked school so much, when she or he completed all the education that could be stomached, the books were closed and that was that – the person chose never again to learn anything by that traditional means.
Chances are pretty good that a person like that hasn’t progressed very far in life. Why? As the old saying goes, when you stop learning, you die. Sure, not everybody finds the academic life or the classroom altogether stimulating, but there are plenty of other ways to learn. The trick is to ensure that we continue to learn even beyond our formal years of education, be it in school or in church.
I didn’t go to Sunday school as a kid, but whenever I ask someone who did, they tell me that if their Christian education had stopped when they stopped going to Sunday school, they wouldn’t have much maturity of faith.
Or, to talk about it in Orange terms, the 40 hours in a year that the church has to influence children for Christ can’t make a believer mature all by themselves. There must be more.
To many adults think that, once they finish Sunday school, they can get all the Christian teaching they need just by listening to Sunday morning messages. That will help, but it’s not enough.
This is why St. Paul’s will be launching its LifeConnect Groups this fall. These will be small group opportunities for people to connect with God, grow in Christ, and serve in community – weekly opportunities to enjoy the presence of God, learn to apply our faith more, and work with others to make a difference in the community.
Wherever you hang out with other Christ-followers, it’s vital to your Christian development that you have some forum in which you can deepen your walk with God. Sunday morning alone can’t do it. “So, then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2.6-7, NIV). Our earliest Christian education can root us in the Lord, but it takes more to build us up. Keep on learning. Maturity awaits!