The surprising place I find God on Sunday mornings
Serve with HPUMC Kids!
Did you know that it takes 250 volunteers each week to successfully run the Children's Ministry at HPUMC? HPUMC Kids is committed to helping children and parents become deeply devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We believe this is a partnership between church and family, and we want to partner with you so we can "Follow Jesus...Together!" We hope that you will prayerfully consider becoming a part of our ministry as an HPUMC Kids volunteer.
Where is your favorite place to be at HPUMC on a Sunday morning? Is it listening to Karla sing? Is it hearing the word of God from a liturgist or taking copious notes during Paul’s sermon? Or perhaps it is in the Cornerstone Café eating those delicious kolaches you swore you were not going to get this week.
Wherever it is, I hope you have a happy place at the church.
For me, that place happens to be sitting in a Sunday School class watching my children and their young friends learn about God’s love. You might be thinking a dozen five-year-olds cooped up in a room on Sunday morning is the exact antithesis of a happy place, but bear with me because I promise you it is not.
Is it loud sometimes? Sure.
Do they like to share? Not really.
Do young children have lots of energy? You bet.
But do you know what they do not have? A lot of cynicism. There is not a lot of overanalyzing happening or prejudice simmering below the surface. They are not harboring any hidden agendas. Instead, they are bursting with curiosity and innocence. When happy, they espouse pure joy (and less snot than you would think).
How many adults can you say that about?
Really, think about it. In your adult world, how often do you interact with people like that? My guess is not that often. And yet, for 60 minutes on a Sunday, I have the honor of sharing my time with people who are exactly like that. Little people, but people just the same. I get to see the world from their vantage point, through the eyes of a child. And let me tell you, it’s a pretty good view.
What I see when I step back and watch these children learn about God is extremely fulfilling. In Sunday School, they are taught the simple truths of faith that we all hold dear. Things like how God will always love us and how he calls us to love others as we love ourselves. The way in which young children soak up God’s word and the teachings of Jesus is refreshing. How they embrace those ideas wholeheartedly makes it easy to see why in Isaiah 11:6 it says that a little child shall lead them.
Each time I volunteer, it is the children who are ultimately teaching me. The simple truths that they accept with an open mind remind me to look at life through the unbiased and untainted lens of a child. So, while it is amazing to see how God works through these children on Sunday mornings (and He does in BIG ways), I also find myself amazed that He is, indeed, also working through me. He is showing me that perhaps things in life do not have to be as complicated as adults make them out to be. He is showing me to slow down and view the world with the unbridled anticipation of a child.
My husband, Brad, and I started volunteering in Sunday School as an easy way to be more involved at church. We figured that it was a great way to make a big church feel smaller and build a sense of community. We were right about that, but we had no idea what a huge impact it would make on our family. Admittedly, at first, we were a bit nervous and not sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised when we found out how easy it is. We are simply there to support the lead teacher and do not have to plan lessons or have infinite biblical knowledge (Hallelujah!).
Smiling faces and helping hands, that’s what we bring to the Sunday School table. Yet, somehow, it is more than that. The sum is greater than the parts. When we volunteer, we are showing our children and their friends that we value what they learn at church, that we value their relationship with God, that those things are indispensable in life, and that we care about them. They also learn that serving others and the church is both important and fun at the same time.
Brad and I were surprised at how much it means to our children to have us volunteer in their classrooms. Being there even just a handful of times a year has made a difference to them. It has been an example to them about commitment, servitude, and, ultimately, love. That small amount of time, those few hours, mean the world to them.
For an hour on Sunday mornings, children have time to reflect, play, and just be themselves without any pressure. As a volunteer, I have the opportunity of watching that unfold. I have the privilege of seeing not only my children but also others I serve, grow in Christ right before my eyes.
As a parent, it does not get much better than that.
Going to worship is important. Listening to sermons and hearing scripture is important. When I do those things on Sundays, I leave
The thing is, though, I have found that being in my child’s Sunday School class can be just as rewarding and enlightening. I learn just as much watching these young kids grow in Christ and learn about God as I do elsewhere at the church.
When I see their excitement at having a quarter to put in the offering plate, I am reminded that it is better to give than receive.
When I see them singing at the top of their lungs to “The Lord’s Army,” I realize that I, too, should sing God’s praises without reservation.
When I watch them diligently working on their craft so they can show it to their parents, beaming with pride, I remember that I should do all tasks as if I were doing them unto God (Colossians 3:23).
Those simple reminders are a guide for me for the rest of the week. A guide that I never realized I needed until I stepped into a classroom full of joyful and loud children.