15 May 2022

Teaching in Church

Sunday School teacher is probably my favorite calling, especially when your class is engaging and talkative.

The best lessons I've ever participated in are those where the conversation flows naturally, instead of being a reading of the assigned chapters and verses, and then a discussion of, "what does that verse/scripture/chapter/etc., mean to you?"

In my lessons I tend to give an interesting, dramatic summary of the story, followed by the principle that was underlying in the story. One class we read two verses and had a great discussion about those two verses for the entire 45 minutes of class.

For example, today the lesson was on Numbers 11-14; 20-24, which discusses the Israelites wandering in the desert, whining and complaining like 4 year olds the entire time. They whined about how much food they were getting, what type of food it was, it's too hot, it's too cold, i want another sucker, טִרדָה is touching me!

In one chapter, Moses sends out 12 spies/scouts, one from each tribe, to spread out amongst the land before them and try to figure out which one was the "promised land" that God told them about. Go, gather intel, see who lives there, if they're a simple village or a military stronghold, and how fertile is the ground?

One group of scouts comes back with big juicy grapes, pomegranites, and figs, says the land is lush and fertile, but there are people living on the land. One man says, "We can take 'em." and the scouts say, "Nuh-uh.. They're giants. They'll kick the crap out of us."

While the story is simple and can be made more entertaining in my retelling of it, it is the least important part of the class.

The important part is, what is the meaning of the promised land? 
...the fruit? 
...the giants? 
How can we compare them to our day?

I ask these questions and let my class think about them. They then come to the conclusions and start raising their hands to answer:

  • "The promised land is a goal, or something we want."
  • "The fruit is the blessings that come from striving for our goals."
  • "The giants are the challenges we face."
Yes. That is the most important part of these stories in the Old Testiment. Not to follow what Moses, or Aaron, or Caleb or whomever else is doing, but how can we apply these things to our day? 

The Israelites did not have faith in the Lord that He would fulfill His promises. They constantly murmured against Him. 

5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 

7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Num21:5-9)

The story, although interesting in it's own right, also has symbolism:
What are the fiery serpents sent amongst the people? 
What is the brass serpent placed upon the pole?
What does it mean to look upon it?

  • Fiery serpents are afflictions.
  • Brass serpent is Christ.
  • Looking upon it is looking to the Lord in faith.
It is in this manner of teaching that my class has the most interaction/participation. They seem interested in the stories as how they can apply them, instead of just reading them in class. 


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