On September 14th, twenty-five teachers (including a few pastors) met at Zion for a half-day workshop to enhance the abilities of Sunday School teachers in El Paso and Las Cruces. Several Zion members were present and were joined by teachers from San Pablo, Mission, CrossPoint, Ascension, and Faith Lutheran Church. Rev. Richard Schlak from the Lutheran Hispanic Missionary Institute was the main presenter and provided instruction concerning the purpose of Sunday School (see Matthew 28:19-20), incorporating Law and Gospel in lessons, classroom management, and lesson planning. He provided every participant with a free copy of his manual for teachers. Participants also broke into small groups according to the age group they teach (pre-school, lower elem., upper elem) to share “best practices” with each other and give a summary to the larger group. This was a source of great ideas for everyone.
Mary Martin from Faith Lutheran Church, a long-time Sunday School teacher and 5th grade teacher at Mission Lutheran School (Las Cruces, NM) was asked to share some of the “best practices” that guide her teaching. Some very practical suggestions were shared: – Find peace in Christ’s forgiveness. If you feel like you could have taught that lesson better, know that tomorrow is a new day and you’ll have another chance. – Be first in the room (before any children arrive) so that when they get there they know it is your room and will be more ready to listen to instructions. (if any beat you to the room, don’t be afraid to have them go out into the hallway and come in again with you there to greet them and instruct them) – Have an activity ready for the children to jump into as soon as they arrive so they are engaged in your agenda and don’t create their own while you wait for other children to arrive.
- Pre-School – Playdough
- Lower Elementary – Coloring page
- Upper Elementary – Worksheet
Participants shared many positive comments afterward and would like to make this training event at least an annual practice. We’re thankful to everyone from Zion and the other churches who made the training possible and we’re looking forward to serving all the children God keeps sending our way.