Some churches use prepared Sunday school lessons published by a denominational publishing house or an outside source. However, a church does not need to buy prepared Sunday school material. Appropriate material fills the shelves of public and private libraries, the pages of the Bible and it is provided free from online sources.
The Sunday School teacher can pull many years worth of lessons out of the Bible. Resources like topical indices, commentaries and Bible dictionaries assist the teacher to craft an effective and engaging lesson. Most Sunday school attendees will have their own Bibles and can participate in the lesson by reading along. Multiple versions of the Bible allow the teacher to ensure that she covers all the important points in a given passage.
Christian self-help books offer the Sunday School teacher source material for lessons. For example, in a class of married couples, the teacher might use Willard Harley’s “His Needs, Her Needs” or Gary Smalley’s “Making Love Last Forever.” In a class of 20- to 30-year-old parents, the teacher might use Gary Smalley’s “The Blessing” or James Dobson’s “The New Dare to Discipline.” The books are readily available in many libraries, and marriage and parenting skills appeal to many young to middle-aged adult students.
Devotional guides provide beginnings for Sunday School lessons. The teacher begins by reading the lesson and the accompanying Scripture passage. The class can discuss practical applications for the Scripture from the perspective offered by the devotional. Some Bibles include devotionals, and many Christian online sources offer daily and weekly devotionals. Pulling from various sources offers a variety of perspectives, topics and styles.
Life can hand a Sunday School teacher lesson material. Many authors, ministers, teachers and speakers pull material from real life. When the teacher receives a personal revelation, he can find applicable Scriptures and craft a lesson that weaves the two together.For example, in discovering that neglected okra plants can leave enough seeds to sprout new plants for several years, the teacher learns to be careful about what he plants. Galatians 6:7 declares that, “a man reaps what he sows.” The analogy for discussion allows the class to discuss the kinds of things they want to reap, such as love, honor, respect and financial blessings. The class also discusses the kinds of things to avoid sowing to prevent a devastating harvest of sin, dishonor, ruined lives and despair.
Lectionary calendars provide four different Bible passages for each week of the year. Church libraries, pastors and online sources give teachers access to the calendar. She looks through the Old Testament, Gospel, Epistle and Psalms readings and chooses one of more then builds a lesson. If the pastor uses the Lectionary for sermon topics, the Sunday school lesson may dovetail seamlessly with the Sunday pulpit message.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.
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