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The Balancing Act of Family in Sunday School

With the Winter Olympics going on right now, I am always amazed at the balance that people show especially in skiing.  My first, and maybe even last skiing experience was not that amazing.  First I was told to constantly stop (make the v with your skis), then I was told to go (which generally ended up with equipment flying through the air, and then I was told, "Joseph, you have to find your center of gravity."  Would someone please tell me what a center of gravity is supposed to be?
The biggest struggle that I encountered was with my balance.  I have written about this before about how to be intentional in having a balance in Sunday School and this is still vital to be practiced.  I have also seen how though the balancing act comes to our personal lives as well and how it is lived out in the context of the body of Christ.
The reality is that we all struggle with finding that balance between being with our families and being involved in the church.  There are people that I know that generally lean towards one way in their walk with Christ.  They are so willing to sacrifice their family on the altar of Christian service and think that the Lord is so excited about them being there at every event.  There are also those that lean the other way in that church better not interfere with my family time, which usually becomes their own personal time.
Larry Osborne compared people to legos, in that there are only a certain number of connections that can be made in their lives to involve their time in the body of Christ.  What we ask people to do in the church sometimes is use up all their ways to connect and then find another lego to make up for their own personal time.
I would suggest though that when it comes to asking families to connect in Sunday School we do not need to take an either/or approach but rather a both/and. We should not want to put the choice before someone of whether they desire to come to church or not, but rather, my prayer is that they would look and see how their lives are defined by their call to Christ and their devotion to their family and the body of Christ within that call!

There are a few quick areas to check of how people are balancing in your church and Sunday School contexts.

1. Do you have leaders who do it all?  Ken Braddy and David Francis recently released a book about the three roles of a leader in Sunday School and it involved being a teacher, leader, and shepherd.  Though these are very admirable traits to possess, for the common man or woman that is leading a class, we have to be careful that we do not ask too much out of leaders.  You tell me, would you rather have a leader that does all three of those somewhat well, or would you have a leader that excels in one of those areas with excellence and surrounds himself with others that excel as well.  Be careful in the expectations that you place before leaders if we are asking them to do more than what their lego will provide.

2. Is your structure asking individuals to do it all?  Building off of the previous point we can ask leaders to do things, but sometimes this is based on the structure that we are asking people to follow.  Does your structure in Sunday School encourage people to add on more legos or to use theirs with the best capabilities they can.

3. Do you respect times for meetings?  We used to have simultaneous worship services and Sunday School hours that would meet on Sunday mornings.  So the time that our leadership meetings would occur involved Sunday nights and a duplicate meeting on Wednesday night.  We recently transitioned to where Sunday school brackets a united worship service.  What does that mean to me?  I am now able to ask leaders to participate in meetings on Sunday mornings, when they are already here.  What does that communicate to them?  I value their attendance as well as their lego connection.  If I can have more people here, then what a greater impact this can make on our Sunday School overall.

4. Do you have balance in your leadership expectations?  I used to be a fan of the mini-pastor role in Sunday School, but I found out that this was quickly not the way to go to have continued long term success and faithfulness in leaders.  When I communicated to teachers that I expect them to do what they were called to do and that is simply to teach God's Word.  I could just enjoy the breeze as people exhaled at once with sighs of relief.  They have never been told that its ok to simply share God's Word.  That it's ok to have others to do the work of outreach, ministry, and fellowship.  It frees them and invites others to be involved.  This creates balance but it also builds up your leaders to do what they have been called by God to do!

There are great things that will happen when you simply evaluate where people are in the walks with the Lord and see how critical balance is for the family in today's Sunday School culture.


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