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Teaching Parables: The Faithful Servant

This parable is both Law and Gospel. It’s an admonition to be ready for Jesus’ return at the end of human history, but it is also the Gospel message that Jesus makes us ready for His triumphant return—the day He will make us whole in heaven.

How to Engage Parents with Your Sunday School

As you say goodbye to your students and watch them walk down the hall, hand in hand with their parents, do you ever wonder: Are they discussing the Bible with their kids? Are the lessons I am teaching being reinforced at home? Am I engaging my students’ parents enough?

Teaching Parables: The Wedding Feast and the Great Banquet

In polite society, we are raised with table manners: don’t hum or sing, keep your elbows off the table, place your napkin in your lap, don’t burp aloud (although this is allowed in some cultures as a compliment to the chef), don’t reach over another person’s plate. There are rules for seating at a dinner party as well, and Jesus makes reference to these in this month’s parables of the wedding feast and the great banquet.

Teaching Preschoolers God’s Truth about Hard Issues

Preschoolers often have big questions. To them, their questions aren’t so big. As they encounter new experiences that range from scraping a knee to a death in the family, they are simply trying to make sense of the world around them. However, to the adult of whom the question is asked, who has more life experience and understanding, the answer may seem very complicated. So, we wonder: How in the world am I going to explain this?

Teaching Parables: The Rich Fool

There is a beguiling temptation to read Jesus’ parable of the rich man’s meditation as nothing more than an admonition against wealth: “Flee from the comforts of this life, for death is coming, and cometh soon!” Instead, the Holy Spirit leads our weary souls to a something more profound: a Gospel-oriented meaning where we find freedom from fear and the peace of Christ.

The Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:1321)

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Teaching Parables: Teaching the Rich Man and Lazarus

This parable teaches the importance of viewing others as people who Jesus loves and wants to save, through the work of the Holy Spirit. It warns against valuing property above people. Interestingly, however, a great deal of what this parable has to offer Sunday School teachers is what it doesn’t teach. We’ll explore the central meaning of the parable in more detail, as well as the theological pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Teaching Parables: The Laborers in the Vineyard

The parable of the laborers in the vineyard may at first seem obscure. There are multiple layers; but this fact makes the parable all the more useful for teaching in the Sunday School classroom and beyond. As you prepare to present this parable in the classroom, keep in mind that Jesus is on His way to the cross. He wants His hearers to understand that salvation and the Church—that is, the Body of all Christians in heaven and earth—is founded on the forgiveness of sins, which He will provide at Calvary. What’s more, Jesus engages the rich young man in Matthew 19 who asks, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (v. 16).

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:13–16)

Summer Sunday School Evangelism Opportunities

As the summer gears up, my mind is drifting toward how I can make the most of the opportunities I will have to interact with children and their parents this summer! My calendar likely looks very similar to yours—Sunday School will look different in some ways from the normal school year programming, and we will have VBS starting in a few weeks. Many families are heading out on vacations here and there, and in years past I have done less at church in a sort of one-way “non-compete clause.” Last fall, I heard from many families that they missed chances to be with other families outside of Sunday worship, and I got to thinking that perhaps summer is a unique time in a family’s year where outreach and evangelism can happen in fun, different ways than could be done in other seasons.

Teaching Parables: The Wedding Garment

While Jesus’ parable of the wedding garment is relatively brief, it presents two fundamental teachings of the Christian faith: God’s definitions of “good” and “bad” are vastly different from our own, and there is salvation only by grace through faith in Christ. I’ll include a few thoughts on Law and Gospel, some ideas for presenting this parable, and couple of song suggestions.

Ending the School Year Well

With the end of the school year close at hand, many of our congregations’ Christian education programs are also winding down and getting ready for a summer break. What can you do to make sure things end well for students and volunteers?