By Jayna Coppedge
Although most religious educators work to instill biblical information and values to students, many do not consider the importance of training children to serve one another. Capable confident leadership begins its development in the preschool years.
Jesus spent time guiding the disciples and then He gave them responsibilities.
“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure disease, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1,2 NIV)
He didn’t wait until He knew the disciples would do everything right before He sent them out. He let them experience failure. Their mistakes became teachable moments.
“Jesus replied, ‘how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.'” (Matthew 17:17 NIV)
Even Jesus was frustrated at how slowly they learned. He knew that one day the growth of His Father’s kingdom would rest on their shoulders, so He kept on loving, guiding, empowering, and trusting them.
Raising children to be servant-leaders includes coaching them to be competent in their relationships. Since children are less inhibited, they can learn to be more altruistic than self-focused teens. This attitude is taught by example, not through guilt or shaming.
Mission activities provide many opportunities to expand everyone’s comfort zone. Notice the numerous service project ideas in the archives. Competency can also be developed in your classroom. Look for ways to enhance each child’s spiritual gifts. Work with the other teachers so that as the year progresses you relinquish more tasks to the students.
Steps in Skill Development:
- Introduce the task before you think the child is ready to tackle it. If you wait until he can do it perfectly, it will not be a fun confidence booster.
- Invite the child to do the job with you a few times. They will love being your helper. Explain what you are doing and why. Emphasize the importance of the task.
- Equip the child to use his talent to assist or encourage other children.
Continue demonstrating and explaining before allowing the child to work independently. When presented with a responsibility, most children’s self-esteem soars and they will be less likely to be absent. “Mr. Franks is counting on me to make sure everyone leaves the classroom with the Bible study leaflet.”
Think of your classroom as a laboratory where your pupils develop the skills and attitudes needed to be capable ministers.
- Distribute supplies
- Put away toys
- Hang-up coats
- Take turns
- Serve as a greeter making each child feel welcome
- Check attendance
- Help a friend find a Bible verse
- Demonstrate classroom rituals
- Invite friends to church
- List prayer requests on the board
- Send prayer grams to others
- Contact absentees
- Organize a food drive
- Lead in corporate prayer
|Jayna Coppedge altered “Chores, the Secret to Self-Esteem” from her book Parenting with the End in Mind: Practical Guidance with Biblical Principles for this article. The book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. She loves speaking at parenting and teacher training events. Join her parenting Facebook discussion group www.facebook.com/groups/1583891675269970/|