How Things Happened
Our church’s urban location provides us with a rich opportunity for neighborhood outreach. Initially, several members of the congregation felt burdened by the needs of the children of the neighborhood. This led to the formation of a Saturday morning Bible class.
In October of 1998 the classes switched to Sunday afternoons, opening access to the immediate community. The Lord answered prayer and blessed our efforts. Presently, 50 to 80 children attend on a given Sunday. Since 1998, over 2500 children attended at least once. Parents are often quite willing to let their children come to Sunday school. We pray that God blesses the weekly lessons to the hearts of many children and young people, and that they in turn will have a positive impact on their families.
How Things Work
The Sunday afternoon activities begin around 2:30 p.m. Volunteers gather for prayer before picking up the children. As the children arrive, they put on name tags and volunteers take attendance. This is time-consuming, but the children receive a reward for regular attendance. In addition to teachers, other volunteers serve as song leaders, piano accompaniment, and teacher aides. Others prepare and hand out bags of treats at the end of class.
At about 3:00 p.m., we begin singing a few Psalters and hymns, and at 3:15 p.m. one of the teachers or ministers presents a short devotional introducing the lesson of the day. After praying together, the children separate into multiple classrooms. The students come from a diversity of religious, social, and cultural environments. They are generally grouped by age, but there can be a great disparity in academic skills and understanding within each classroom. Our teachers need special gifts to communicate effectively. They also need extensive prayer to continue doing a difficult, yet important task.
Through contact with the children, individual volunteers have many opportunities to become involved with families with acute need. Many live in poverty, come from broken homes, and/or have relatives in jail. Some have lost a sibling in drug-related murders. We truly have a large mission field in our own backyard. You can pray for the volunteers who minister in this challenging environment. First, pray for a heart of Christlike compassion. Second, pray that the Holy Spirit will bless these efforts with rich fruit. Third, pray that the seed of the Word sown would not return void, but bear fruit for GOd’s glory (Isa. 55:11).