(By Brenda Groeneveld)
This morning 5 of our Sunday School teachers attended a SANSSA (South African National Sunday School Association) Training morning. Jean Geerthsen, a children’s pastor from Westview Methodist Church shared thoughts about ‘Discipline in Children’s Church’ and ‘Partnering with Parents’. It was a thought-provoking and inspiring morning, bringing together more that 40 people from various churches around Pretoria, who share a passion for teaching children about Jesus.

Jean had some creative ideas regarding discipline in Children’s church. We discussed loving firmness and establishing rules that make children feel loved and welcome and safe.

Jean pointed out that one of the trends in parenting these days is to ‘out-source’ some of our children’s training to professionals because we, as parents, feel inadequate or ill-equipped. We send them to Master Maths, OT, Reading Courses, Cricket Academy, remedial programmes, swimming lessons, play therapy… This is all fine and good, until it comes to our children’s spiritual development. Jean feels that there is a danger that Sunday School teachers could be seen as the ‘professionals’ in spiritual development of children. Many parents feel too stretched or ill-equipped to teach their children about the things of God, but feel ‘that’s okay, at least I send them to Sunday School’. Since the Sunday School teachers see the children for less than 20 hours a year, even if they attend EVERY week, we cannot be the primary source of spirituality for the children of the church. Jean encouraged us to encourage the parents in various ways. Some of them we are doing already. Some of the ideas we will be working on during the year.

Here are some of the ways we feel we can partner with you, as parents, in the spiritual development of your children:

  • We encourage parents to make use of the church library. We have some very helpful Christian parenting tools available there. We will continue to look out for great parenting books to stock the library. If you have any Christian parenting books you would like to see there, please let us know.

  • We provide Scripture Union Bible Reading notes to aid in all-age Bible devotions. These are available in the foyer of the church at a very reasonable price.

  • We recommend Focus on the Family Resources as a trust-worthy source of advice and guidance in Christian Family growth.

  • We encourage parents to get to know your children’s Sunday School teacher, and also to ask your child what they learned in Sunday School and reinforce it at home.

  • We will be sending out more Sunday School Newsletters this year to keep you as parents informed about all that we are doing

  • We ask for your prayers as we strive to give God the glory and to share his message of love with the children.

  • We will be trying out some other ideas this year too, and would appreciate your advice, questions and suggestions.

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