Hope Chapelís Philosophy of Children's Ministries
Guidelines for Sunday School teachers ...
Premise 1: We do not substitute for parents
According to the Scriptures, the spiritual training of children is the duty of parents Ė not the Church.
Premise 2: We offer edifying childcare
The purpose of Hope Chapel Sunday School is not to assume full responsibility for the discipleship of the children, but to provide an edifying time of childcare for them while their parents listen to the sermon without distractions. "Edifying," being defined as that which not only strengthens the children in their faith, but helps prepare them to join their parents in the main service at a future time.
Premise 3: We need not burden ourselves with long range plans
Therefore, teachers need not take upon themselves the overall spiritual training of the children.
Premise 4: We don't overload the parents
There is therefore, no need for teachers to give homework assignments. In fact, we request that none be given.
Premise 5: We teach the Word
To reassure parents that their children will learn only Godís word in class, we ask that teachers make every attempt to teach from the Bible, completely eliminating lessons in which the Bible is not used, or in which other books are the sole source of the instruction, ie: Book of Virtues, Christian novels, etc.
Premise 6: We lead children into reverent worship
Childhood is the time when our ideas about God and His calling on our lives are first shaped. Being that the Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and the foundation for an earnest walk with Christ, all Bible lessons and classroom activities should reinforce reverence for the Lord and the things pertaining to Him. We do not wish to seem overly sensitive or Phariseeistic about what might appear to some as such a petty issue, but we have observed that a light attitude about God in children determines how earnestly they relate to Him as they mature. We therefore ask that teachers eliminate Christian songs in which the silliness is more dominant than the Truth in the words. That is, do not sing songs in which the words have less impact than the silliness of the hand motions; ie: songs like "Father Abraham" are nearly void of spiritual significance, and typically leave the children in a state of silliness, not in a spirit of reverence or worship. Our goal is to lead children into the worship of God, and empty songs with silly hand motions do not accomplish this goal. However, do not conclude that all songs using hand motions detract from worship, ie: "His Banner Over Me" and "Silver and Gold" use hand motions, but they reinforce the words.
Premise 7: We offer edification
The emphasis of lessons should be edification, and not "fun." Certainly, a good teacher can make learning fun, but the goal is not to just to have fun. For example, if after a sermon, people are left thinking more about how they were entertained than the significance of what they learned, the preacher has failed. So also, fun may be out of balance if children tend to leave class each week more affected by the fun they had than what was taught. Arts, crafts, and skits, if used well, can be invaluable teaching tools, but teachers must keep to a minimum all games and other activities in which the edification value is minimal. However, if after the class is over, and time remains before the children join their parents, games or other fun activities are completely appropriate. Please understand, we do not consider fun wrong, just dangerous when it serves as a distraction to learning.
Premise 8: We encourage unity among the children
We have observed at Hope Chapel that when teams are created during class time, dividing the boys from the girls, often the competition is continued and the banter is increased outside of class, after the service is over. We therefore, ask that when teachers employ competition as a means of instruction or in after-class fun, they do not divide the class between boys and girls, ages, family lines, or any other identifiable trait which may foster continued competition later.
Premise 9: Teachers need feeding too
Teachers, like all saints, need spiritual feeding, so they should be sure to pick up a sermon tape from the sound technicians after the service.