Whether you’re quaking in your boots about to face your first class of four-year-olds, or are a battle-hardened veteran able to confidently perform the actions to dozens of children’s songs, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.
Their God is So Big is a unique and indispensable guide to teaching Sunday School to young children (up to the age of eight). It covers everything from understanding the kind of person you should be as a teacher to comprehending the rapidly changing stages through which children pass.
Author Stephanie Carmichael offers a simple, practical method for preparing and delivering effective Bible-based lessons, as well as reams of suggestions, ideas and resources on everything you might face as a teacher. There’s also plenty of advice and information on the mechanics of organizing and running a Sunday School.
This book is designed to be used in three ways:
This book may also be of interest to parents of young children, since many of the principles and ideas outlined will be useful for them in their own ministry of teaching the Bible to their own children.
Stephanie Carmichael has also written a complete curriculum for this age range: see Teaching Little Ones, starting at the first of six modules.
I hold Sunday School teachers in the highest regard. It is a wonderful and important ministry, and rarely an easy one. It is about serving children who are not always a pleasure to teach, who may have tantrums, conduct impromptu paper throwing competitions, or just be rude. On the other hand, it is about serving children who are fragile people in a sinful world and need more than anything to be well-taught in the holy Scriptures, which are able to make them wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 3:15).
We can’t wait until children grow up before we teach them about God. Children go to school to learn how to read, write and count; they also need to learn how to live, according to the intentions of our Creator. Many who have become Christians in adulthood are saddened by the fact that they didn’t come into a relationship with God earlier, and so could have avoided years of uncertainty, insecurity and doubt.
I will not spend much time saying how worthwhile and important Sunday School teaching is. I assume that you already think this way if you are reading this book.
This book is aimed at teachers of young children. To have covered children of all ages I would have ended up writing an epic. Rather than presenting you with a paperweight, I thought it more valuable to address an age range that is often overlooked. Even if you are teaching older children, it’s helpful for you to consider these early years and how children develop concepts of God.
The book is designed to be used in three ways:
Throughout the book, and especially in Part 1, there are various practical exercises. These are called ‘think and pray’ or ‘challenge and change’ or ‘think and do’, or some similar title. They are fairly straightforward and require little further explanation, except to note that the exercises entitled ‘challenge and change’ are especially aimed at those who are already teaching a Sunday School class.
I started writing this book years ago, and it has only been a publisher’s dead- line that has made me finish it. A constant thought—“but I still have more to learn”—has always kept me from thinking that the manuscript is finished. Only recently, I had a Sunday School teaching experience that was less than ideal, and I couldn’t help saying to myself, “And you’re writing a book about teaching Sunday School!” It was a humbling experience, reminding me that as teachers we are still learners; we can never know it all nor give the perfect lesson. And the fact that we teach children, who are the greatest variable of all, means that we can never predict exactly how things are going to go.
So it is with a humble heart that I bring this book to you. It contains what I have learnt thus far in my teaching journey, and I hope it can be of help to you. I don’t look upon myself as having all the answers, but I hope that you will find help and encouragement in the pages that follow.
My prayer is that God will keep teaching us all about himself, about chil- dren and about teaching—and indeed that he will keep helping us to teach children about God.
— Stephanie Carmichael, October 2000