Educational Issues in the Local Church by Andy Robison

     The educational system of the church is the most important educational system there is next to the home.  While God designed the home to be the primary source of instruction in spiritual things (Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Ephesians 6:4; Titus 2:4-5), the Bible classes (Sunday, Wednesday, VBS, etc.) serve undeniable and irreplaceable roles.

The Importance of Bible Classes

     First, some children tragically do not have the homes where a father and mother can plan a system of study for their children.  Who will intervene?   The Bible class system offers at least an introductory venue for great spiritual truths to be inculcated into young minds.

     Second, some parents, even in good homes, just abdicate their responsibility.  Sometimes, the godly Bible class teacher is the only role model of Christian living and study that children will have.  And, sometimes those children can learn truths in a Bible class that will “come out of the mouths of babes” at home and even trigger a needed lesson for mother and/or father.

     Third, the Bible class can be a great source of outreach to the many, many families who never darken the church-house door.  Children might be invited by a friend from school or sports, and, for the first time ever, hear the message of the sacrifice of the exalted Christ.

     Who should be teaching these classes?  How much organization should be involved?  What planning should there be?  The answer to these questions is hopefully obvious after the significant role of the Bible class is explained.

     Some places, however, it does not seem so obvious.  Bible class systems have often degraded from a planned curriculum with well-prepared teachers to a haphazard, fly by the seat of your pants, chaotic scramble to put a body in a classroom to baby-sit the few who might show that Sunday.  This is tragic, and has consequences that reach through the generations of the church and throughout individual lifespans to eternity.  Please consider these suggestions:

Choose Curriculum Wisely

     Curriculum of Bible classes should be well-planned.  In some places, the elders simply default to allowing whoever is willing to teach the class to choose whatever book he or she likes from whatever publishing house they choose.

     Sometimes those teachers might do well in their preparation, and sometimes they might choose the flashiest material that requires the least amount of study on their part.

     Where does the fifth-grade curriculum fit into the overall objectives of gained Bible knowledge?  If that question were to be answered honestly, the answer, in many cases, would be unknown.  But as long as that body is willing to be in that class and the educational director doesn’t have to look for anybody else, the proverbial boat will not be rocked.

     Curriculum should be well-thought-out and organized with specific goals and objectives in mind.  A godless government organizes the curriculum in evolutionary dogma for the public.  Should the church submit to the carelessness desired by the devil?

Choose Teachers Wisely

     Teachers of Bible classes should be well-screened.  They should be diligent students of the Bible, even before they knew they were going to be teaching any classes.

     It is the height of absurdity to put a barely faithful novice in charge of young souls.  Some so justify it, “Well, if we give him some responsibility, he might be more faithful.”

     We should try old-fashioned rebuke, reproving, and exhortation to keep a soul faithful.  And only after that soul has proven faithful, put him or her over the precious souls of the untaught children.  Otherwise, class will devolve into a series of “I think’s” after an unanimated and uninformed reading of a page from the Bible class story book.  Oh, and maybe they’ll get to color a pretty picture.

     Teachers should be knowledgeable and submissive to godly elders.  A teacher who has a proven acumen to use private settings as a flashpoint to ignite tensions over doctrinal and/or personal issues should be kept out of the classroom.

     A Christian who seeks to subvert sound doctrine through any kind of small group, Bible classes included, must not be given, by sound elders, that possibility, especially with young minds!  They are the most impressionable!

     Elders have the responsibility that faithful words must be taught (Titus 1:9).  Therefore, they must have the courage to say no to the eager teacher who is eager for all the wrong reasons.

     Finding teachers can be a pain for those in charge.  This is a result of a commitment problem in the church.  Nevertheless, to fill classes with unprepared, uninvolved, unsound teachers is worse than having no class at all.