Frustrated!! Help!!!

Sara - posted on 03/22/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I belong to a very small congregation. We only have about 50 members that come each week. There are two of us who teach Sunday School. I teach the 3-7 yr olds and someone else teaches the 8-12 year olds. I have about 4 kids that would be in my class if everyone shows. On most Sunday's my daughter is the only one in my class and my son is the only one in his class. Some of the parents talked to pastor and they expressed that they would like to have Sunday School during church. They think that will encourage younger family's to join. But my two questions are



1.) What would I get out of church. I would alway's be teaching Sunday School.

2.) We are discussing having one class. I would need idea's of how to teach a class that has 4 year olds and 11 year old's in it. All of them are very active. I had a 10 year old tell me that coloring stinks and the 5 year old hates to listen to the reading out of the bible. But if I use the story that I tell the pre-schoolers the 10 year old says that he is not a baby!! He wants to read it out of the bible.



I'm kind of frustrated right now with this decision. If we had more people who would volunteer to teach I might only have to teach one week a month. But we do not have more people who want to do that.



Any Idea's for me?

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CHris - posted on 03/26/2009

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I don't know if you'll like my take on this one but here goes... I believe that my children are God's children.  I teach them about the Lord during the week, that' s my job and my husband's.  We promised to do this when we  baptised them.  We also believe that our children are baptised into God's covenant, and when God calls His Children to worship, that includes our children.  So all of our children sit in church and worship God with us.  Church is not there for the kids.  The kids are part of the church, part of the congregation.  I think you have created for yourself a false dilemma.  Bring your children with you to the Lord to worship.  The Lord does not want you to keep them from worship with His Children.  Teach them why you worship and about whom you worship at home.  Read the Bible to them, pray with them, worship with them.  Hope this helps.

Brooke - posted on 03/26/2009

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I think that the church is there to teach the Word of God and for fellowship and encouragement. If the Sunday School is going to take that from you, you need to talk to the pastor to tell him you don't like that idea or tell him you will need to resign from teaching if it is put in place. I hope you get things worked out!

Heather - posted on 03/24/2009

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The other thing I could recommend is if you do have to miss service every week, could you have someone record it for you? Our church records all of the sermons and puts them on the church website. And then maybe look for a Bible study.

Heather - posted on 03/24/2009

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I also go to a church with a very small congregation. Around 30 people. They pass around a sunday school sign up sheet once or twice a month and different members of the congregation volunteer to teach Sunday school. I love it! The kids are out of the room so I can concentrate and get something out of being there. Nobody is missing church all of the time, and my kids don't get one particular persons beliefs shoved down their throughts, but a variety of biblical lessons.



One thing that our church is looking into is asking for volunteers from other churches to come and teach our kids so that non of our members miss church service. Churches have different schedules, and we are just looking for one with a different service time or multiple service times. Some bigger congregations have 3 or 4 morning services.

Carol - posted on 03/24/2009

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We are in the same situation.  We only have about 50-60 people attending.  I teach Sunday school ages 7-12, my husband teaches young adults.  I use to teach a class from age 1-12 and boy that was a challenge, but recently we changed the classes.  What we did was have a meeting of all the people that do come to Sunday school.  We seperated our classes in groups from 1-6yrs, 7-12 yrs, teens, young adults and seniors.  We encouraged the people to be teachers.  We did get 5 people and then we asked for backup teachers so if the main teacher could not be there, there would be a substitute.  This is working better.  I was frustrated when I had the class from 1-12yrs, but now I am glad because the age group I am teaching is being challenged to learn about God and not being bothered with the younger children that are disruptive. 



I would suggest fervent prayer about your situation because all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.  One other suggestion is have a sign up sheet and ask people to take turns because the future of your church is the children.  We have to teach them. 



Also, I was frustrated because I didn't get to be in Sunday school myself because I love Sunday school, but we have a Bible study on Wednesday nights that is great.

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Sara - posted on 04/05/2009

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This week was the first week of Sunday School during church. I had two Pre-K and two 4th graders. I decided this week I would let the older kids read the story out of the bible. Afterwards I gave coloring pages to the Pre-K and did a short discussion with the older kids. I was suprised at how quiet the little one's were coloring while we were able to discuss the lesson. Then I gave a word find/project to the older kids while I worked with the younger kids. I was amazed at how well it went.



After chuch someone asked me if I would be interested in a bible study. We do not have one in our church at the moment. This will help me learn/grow when I am not able to participate in the church service.



Sometimes life will throw something at me and I get all up in arms and stress out over it. I have to remember to put everything in God's hands and he will take care of it.



Thank you again for your idea's and support.

Carolee - posted on 04/04/2009

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hello sara ! my name is carolee . if you know what it is you want to do .... do that ! you have the sprit of God in you . God trusts you to do things that you enjoy and get pleasure from thats when you will shine :]  or find a way to get joy from it .  your decision will cause people to rise up :}

Carolee - posted on 04/04/2009

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hello sara ! my name is carolee . if you know what it is you want to do .... do that ! you have the sprit of God in you . God trusts you to do things that you enjoy and get pleasure from thats when you will shine :]  or find a way to get joy from it .  your decision will cause people to rise up :}

Kristi - posted on 03/30/2009

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The church that i go to now has grown from 35-50 avg. sunday morning attendance to over 1000 in the last 5 yrs!  we have just this month started a 3rd svc. on sunday mornings!  we have only been going for a yr now, and there were probably about 850 when we started going.  we do not have sunday school at all on Sunday mornings b/c 1st svc. is 8:30 - 10:00 and 2nd svc. is 10:30 - 12:00.  But our pastor believes that small group bible study is important both for fellowship and education.  We have LifeGroups that meet twice a month, usually in someones home on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month.  LifeGroups can accomodate those who have children.  For example, the LifeGroup that my husband and I go to is for anyone, couples or singles.  One lady is a single mom with a 12 yr. old daughter.  The daughter stays with the younger kids upstairs while we all meet downstairs.  This works out great!  Other LifeGroups are for singles, college kids, couples, seniors, etc.  Some meet every week, some meet on Monday nights.  Usually, everyone purchases a book and that is what the study is on.  If some people really don't like the idea of missing sunday school on sunday mornings they could meet before of after your worship svc.  I go to a Women's LifeGroup during 1st svc. then my husband and son come and join me for the 2nd svc.  or my son goes to Kids Church for both svcs.



Kids Church is during the worship svc. on sun. morning.  Ages 3-12.  They are together for praise and worship (the 5th and 6th graders help, they are LIT's - Leaders in Training) then they break up into class rooms based on age.)  But for a small church, I think keeping them together the entire time would be good as long as you allow the older kids to help lead the svc. They could do the songs, puppet shows for the little ones, etc. 



As far as you are concerned about missing the sermon. I would suggest that your church invest in the technology needed to record the services (if they haven't already).  This would not only encourage more adult participation in Kids Church, but would also provide those who miss a service the opportunity to buy the tape/cd.  Our church provides free cd's to adults who serve in Kids Church or the wed. night kids or youth programs, then anyone else can purchase the cd for $3.00.  They also put it on a podcast on their website. 



Seek the Lord, He will provide you the answer on this. Ask your pastor to pray with you on this.  Maybe he could address the church members during a svc.  Parents are going to go where there are good programs for their kids.  If you want to grow the church, maybe it would be a good idea to implement some of the programs that larger churches have and stand in faith that the Lord will fill them with people.  After all, people can't go to a program that is not offered.  One reason I believe our church has grown so much is because they offer child care for almost everything.  Maybe hiring a part-time children's pastor may be a wise investment.  Our children's pastor works full-time for an attorney for Dept. of Children's Services, but works a few hours / week planning Kids Church and Wed. night programs.  I will pray for you on this, keep us posted!

Sara - posted on 03/27/2009

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Thank you for all of your advice! Some of the parents that have children do not come very often and they say it is because the kids don't like church. I can't belive they let the kids run their lives. I thought church was to teach us about God so we can learn more about his word. Not because we have to go. I love the idea of a sign up sheet for sunday school. I will do that on Sunday.

Heather - posted on 03/27/2009

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Quoting CHris:



I don't know if you'll like my take on this one but here goes... I believe that my children are God's children. I teach them about the Lord during the week, that' s my job and my husband's. We promised to do this when we baptised them. We also believe that our children are baptised into God's covenant, and when God calls His Children to worship, that includes our children. So all of our children sit in church and worship God with us. Church is not there for the kids. The kids are part of the church, part of the congregation. I think you have created for yourself a false dilemma. Bring your children with you to the Lord to worship. The Lord does not want you to keep them from worship with His Children. Teach them why you worship and about whom you worship at home. Read the Bible to them, pray with them, worship with them. Hope this helps.





I kind of agree. But not totally. We keep our kids with us through the worship part of the service and through prayer and offering, but when it is time for the sermon they go to sunday school to get a kids message. I agree that learning to sit though church is important, but if the kids stayed in the sanctuary the entire time my husband and I would get nothing out of it. I do want to say that we have twin girls that are only a year old, and they are very distracting. I don't think that our two boys would disrupt anything, and probably could sit through the sermon, but I also don't think that it would benifit them at all. I don't think I will keep sending them to Sunday school forever, because once they have made a personal commitment for Christ I do think that they might benifit from the sermon, but I also have to think that each child is unique upon when they are ready to do so.

Kimberly - posted on 03/24/2009

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I am in the same situtuation as you. I don't know what your schedule if for services, but at my church. I am in the praise and worship band and I teach Sunday School and Children's Church for the entire youth. My class age ranges from 2 or 3 to 12 or 13. Now what we do at our church is have Sunday school every Sunday and we have children's church every other week. I get my teaching of the word on every other Sunday and on Wed. Now - as far as teaching the classes - that can be difficult. Because you have to make it simple enough for young children and then interesting enough to keep the attention of the older children. What I reccommend is when you go over the story - Read it out of the Bible (or have your older students read it), let the older students explain what they get out of it and then have a childrens version of the story to tell for the younger children so that they can understand. Then as far as the activities go. I have everything from simple coloring pages to easy crossword puzzles to anagrams to very hard fill-ins etc. This makes sure that everyone can find something that they enjoy doing. And - if it is just you and your daughter - I would just decide to have church with the big people. Give her some coloring pages or something to keep her occupied and sit in the sanctuary and you have church. Trust me - she will still get something out of the word just by sitting there. I hope that this helps.

Melissa - posted on 03/23/2009

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I wish I could say I have some advice but unfortunatley I amin a similar situation. My church also has about 5o members. We have a nursery for kids 2 & under. There is a 2yr old, a 1yr old & my 9 month old daughter. We have a class for 3-8 yr olds wich I teach. My son is the only one in this class most of the time. We have a little girl who comes for 1 full month & then is gone 1 full month (parents have split custody). We have another little boy who comes about once a month. We do have 3 sisiters in the clas but they come very sporadically & we may not see them for 6 months & then they may come for a couple weeks & be gone for several months. Our class meets during church because there is nothing else for the kids to do during church. The kids use to stay in church for praise & worship & then go out for class for the message. This has recently changed becuase some of the kids( the ones that aren't even there every week) can't behave in church during praise & worship. So now I have to keep the kids out for the whole service. We do have a home study group that meets on Wednesday nights but I can't go to that either becuase they don't have anything for the kids. I have someone who is suppose to teach every other week but he is very unreliable & does not show up some of the time. Basically I am hardly ever in church. I really do love our church & feel that God wants our family to stay here but I am having a hard time. We don't have any 9-12 yr olds. Our teens have a class but it meets on Wednesday nights. Maybe someone can give us both some ideas.

Katherine - posted on 03/23/2009

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Some questions for you:



1.  Are the parents who approached the pastor regular attenders whose children aren't attending Sunday School now?



2.  Are the children currently attending the Worship service with their parents or is there a Jr. Church program for children 4-10 years of age?



3.  Are these parents really interested in attracting new families or are they looking to find a place for their kids so that they can enjoy the worship service?



4.  If these parents are truly interested in the spiritual education of their children, then they should be actively assisting the Christian Education programming in your Church.



*Programs and scheduling will not attract new committed members.  I suggest that your Church start a vigorous prayer campaign focussed on the families in your area if these parents truly want new families to join your congregation. 

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