“And all these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” –Deuteronomy 6:6-7
The signs are all around us. Sunday papers filled with full-color ads and fliers for sales on clothes and shoes, stores filled with a staggering number of notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, and other supplies. Buildings and parking lots that were largely vacant throughout the summer now have a few cars in them. Soon there will be buses, carpools, and bikes wending their way to places of learning. Yes, school is upon us. In fact, for a few, school is in full swing.
This means some new things: new classrooms, new teachers, new buildings, new schedules, new classmates, new friends, new clothes, and so much more. But there is one thing that remains the same: HOMEWORK!
Things are no different at Mt. Calvary where a lot of our educational ministries will begin as well. Sunday School will continue between services. Learning Is For Everyone (LIFE) classes will begin September 14 with a Family Fun night. And a plethora of adult studies will be popping up and resuming at various times and places as well.
This means new things for Mt. Calvary, too. New curriculum in Sunday School. New ages for LIFE classes; we’ve expanded it to Pre-K four-year-olds and Kindergarteners. A new time for our Thursday morning Bible study; beginning September 7 it will be a WEDNESDAY morning Bible study at 10:30. AND, something we haven’t seen, HOMEWORK!
But church homework is different from school homework. Teachers send work that needs to be done at home; the church invites people to work on their homes. That’s what the Lord says through Moses to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy. “Teach [the Word of the Lord] diligently to your children… talk of them when you sit in your house… when you walk on the way… when you lie down… when you rise.” This is how the Lord assigned homework. He instructed His people to talk about the Word at home, not just in the assembly on every Sabbath.
For generations, it has been the responsibility of parents to share the Word with their children throughout the day. However, we lost our way somewhere along the way. Somehow, we’ve put forth the idea that, if parents will just bring their children to Sunday School or LIFE classes, the Church will make sure they become Christians.
How’s that working out for us? Not well, I think. I’ve talked with countless parents who have wondered what happened. “We were in Sunday School every week. My kids were active in youth group throughout high school. Why aren’t they in church now?” Could it be because we didn’t equip parents to talk about the Word at home? The Lord warns that this could happen: “…take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Deut. 6:12).
So, let’s bring homework to church. Aaron and I are working on the best way to guide parents in discussions about LIFE class. Confirmation families will learn how to talk about sermons and process them together. For the adults, there’s always the simple question: What has God been teaching you in His Word? Talk about these things when you lie down, when you get up, when you’re in the car, or when you’re gathered at home… lest we forget the Lord.
Peace be with you,
Pastor Tom Vanderbilt