The Importance of Sunday School
“Let the children come to me, so not to hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10: 14-15
Christian education is a permanent challenge to the work of the Church. Not only did our Lord and Savior continuously teach the word of God during His early mission, but the Church as well from the earliest times looked upon Christian education as one of its essential ministries. As the first Christians joined the Church “they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42
The greatest gift, the most precious inheritance that we have to give to our children is our Orthodox Faith. Jesus makes it clear that He wants children to come to know Him, and the He considers it a grave offence for an adult to hinder this process or lead child astray: “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matt 18:6
The Central aim of Christian education in our Church is to evoke and nurture faith in Jesus Christ according to the Orthodox phronema (vision) out of which issues a genuine Orthodox way of life. The Church nurtures a living awareness of the risen Christ in our midst, who is the true Celebrant of Sacraments and the true Teacher of His people, and makes Himself known to use by the grace of the Holy Spirit. The whole range of Orthodox educational material- books, filmstrips, visuals, Bible Studies, lives of Saints, contemporary discussion of Christian values- becomes effective to the degree that communicates the love and sprit of Christ.
The focus of our efforts to educate our beloved children in the Orthodox Christian Faith must remain in our Sunday School program. When we bring our children regularly to Sunday School, we provide them with a gift of knowledge that has lifelong value and significance.
The need of Christian education is as immediate as when the disciples first appealed to Jesus: “Teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1
Christian education is an essential and abiding ministry in the Church. As other important ministries, it is never finished. It can be as vital and meaningful as the whole body of the Church makes it through provision of adequate personal, spiritual and financial resources.
The validity of Christian education is demonstrated by the truth that a well informed Christian is a spiritually committed Christian within the greater body of the Church. The commission of Christian education comes from the Lord Himself:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and lo I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Matt 28: 19-20
At St. John the Divine, Sunday School begins immediately after Holy Communion. Parents: Bring your children to Sunday School. Your personal example and involvement in the religious education of your children are extremely important. The priest and teachers cannot do the job alone. Here is how you can help develop the spiritual life and moral upbringing of your children.
Register your child to our Sunday Church School Program.
Bring them to Church on time.
Stay and worship at the Divine Liturgy in the Church.
Be positive about Church.
Discuss with them what they learned each Sunday.
Teach them to bring their weekly stewardship offering.
Give your personal example of Christian living.
Emphasize regular repentance and Holy Communion.
Put Church before every other activity on Sunday.
Avoid criticism of others.
Let your love for Our Lord Jesus Christ radiate.
From the Church Bulletin: St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church, Paramus, New Jersey.