In the heart of London, by the banks of the Thames, there stands a statue of Robert Raikes.
It enjoys this place of prominence because many in England credit Raikes (1735-1811) with the creation of Sunday School in the 1780’s. Many had a hand in creating modern Christian education, but Raikes, a friend of John Wesley’s, clearly played a big part and his passion for learning had an enormous impact on the flowering of the Methodist Church.
Methodists have made a big deal of education from the beginning; we began in a university dorm room, after all. We’ve been building schools and colleges for centuries. Weekly Sunday School is an essential of being Methodist and not just for the children.
People say, “Children are the future of our church and our world.” In important ways, they’re right. But, I think our adults are the future of our church. We’re the ones who teach the children; can we hope to teach them the Bible if we don’t know it? If the kids notice (and they do watch us) that we aren’t involved in spiritual growth, can we really expect them to value it? We’re the ones who make decisions about who we are as a faith community and what we do for God’s kingdom. Do we act out of a mature Christian understanding of who we are and what God is calling us to do? Do we really know what’s going on?
As one pastor passionate about Christian education and spiritual growth, let me offer some possible answers to the question, what’s going on?
- God is drawing us closer to God and to each other.
- God calls us to undertake whatever learning and spiritual practice we need to grow closer to God and each other.
- The leaders of TUMC are called to plan and provide methods of transformational learning that will help a wide variety of people move closer to God and each other.
I thank God for such a mission and all who would help us in this important work.
To every adult who wants to grow spiritually, I hope you will be intentional in this. In the coming weeks, you will be hearing about new opportunities for learning here at TUMC. There will be Bible studies, short-term small group studies on faith and practice, new Disciple Bible Study classes, including new opportunities for Sunday School. Please pray that God will guide you to the Sunday School class or group that will best bless you in your next faithful steps. The kids are heading back to school. How about you?
All good things to you in Christ,