For the last few months DH and I have been struggling with our Middle School Sunday School class that we teach. This year's group of kids has been frustrating most of the time and we have been seriously contemplating "retiring" as teachers. They just wouldn't stay focused and the level of disrespect continued to escalate. Many, many prayers have been sent up about what to do.
The planned, store-bought lessons that we had used the last 5 years weren't cutting it anymore. I had tried planning our own lessons digging into the books of the Bible one by one. We were becoming more and more frustrated and the kids were becoming more and more out-of-control. For the month of December, we always take a break and watch a movie as part of their Christmas present from us. This year we picked Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It was a good breather for all of us I think. Even though we had watched it 2 years ago, the kids stayed interested and paid attention. Maybe it's because we hinted that there may be questions dealing with the movie in the Bible trivia that we always play at the end of the Sunday School hour :) That is the only time that everyone pays attention and contributes to class! Perhaps it's because the winners always leave class with candy!
Last week was the first week back to regular class. All week I had tried to prepare something as a lesson, but I just wasn't feeling that anything I came up with was going to work. So I went with nothing, and I mean nothing prepared. I was actually quite calm about it ~ no panic feeling about what were we going to do with 15 middle schoolers for an hour with nothing planned. I had decided to turn it over to the Lord. I would let Him show us what to do with these unruly middle schoolers.
I sat down, took out my Bible, and said nothing. The questions started to fly ~ "What are we doing?" "Are we going back to those boring lessons again?" "Do we have to do anything?" "Can't we just sit and talk?"
Out of my mouth can the answer ~ "We are going to split into 2 teams and play a game." The kids went wild! They couldn't believe that we were just going to play a game the whole hour. So into 2 teams they split without any arguing or hassles. I questioned them about the Gospels, had them find verses, threw in the occasional Narnia question ~ the hour flew by. We even received a few thank yous for the candy as they left the room. DH and I looked at each other ~ we couldn't believe how much info we pumped out to them and how much they sucked in!
So yesterday I did the same thing ~ let the Lord guide me. The same answer came again. This time the questions dealt with salvation, verses about salvation, the Lamb's Book of Life ~ which lead to a terrific discussion about whether or not a person can lose their salvation. The kids were so focused and involved ~ even the ones that are so shy we can't even get them to say hello to us. We were overwhelmed when class ended.
We are feeling better about continuing on as teachers. We still feel that strong pull to be leaders for this age group in our church. This is a critical time in these kids' lives. They need strong Christians to show an interest in them ~ some that are willing to listen to their questions and help them find the answers. Even though, we thought that we were seeking the Lord's guidance about how to handle the class, it took total surrender of it to Him. DH and I feel like the kids are getting so much more out of class ~ we are enjoying it again.
It's just another reminder of how we need to totally surrender everything to the Lord. I cannot be in control of things ~ He needs to be. I need to seek what He wants from me, need to be quiet and listen for His voice in my life. I can't wait to see what He has in store for next week ~ I think that the kids are excited as well.