One loss I have felt acutely since “the Conflict” at the old church has been teaching Sunday School. From September 2007 until March 2009 I taught the church's senior high class, then from April 2009 until the July 2009 I was tasked with trying to launch a college and young adult Sunday School class. I loved interacting with the class and trying to find unique ways to present topics that are often viewed as dry. For most of that time I also was able to create my own curriculum, a task I enjoyed greatly. Whether I made it interesting is a question I would have to defer to others, but with my odd mind I am pretty certain the classes were at least different.
I loved learning with and from the class as we explored the goodness of God's covenantal story. I enjoyed getting to know those in the classes and they taught me a lot about teaching and about the subjects we were discussing. They also often reminded me how much more I have to learn. For a portion of that time I was able to ask a dear friend (and partner in crime on various projects over the years) to be a co-teacher and our collaborative process added greatly to the memorable elements of the “project.”
A few months ago, I was talking to one of my professors from college who has encouraged me in my pursuit of a teaching post. “It's a charmed life,” he said, as he went on to reiterate how it never grows old to spend time sharing the wonderful subjects he teaches with new students each semester and to, in essence, get to spend life learning along with them. The taste I have had in a less formal setting really helps me to appreciate his point.
Teaching taught me how much my calling is tied to teaching. I already believed that I was headed for a teaching form of ministry, but the time spent doing the deed was far more rewarding than I ever expected. The cancelation of the class — support had slowly been taken away as the conflict intensified — and the subsequent yearning I felt to teach again has confirmed this all the more for me.
Today, I was blessed with the opportunity to sub for one of my fellow seminarians at my new church in his adult Sunday School class. I felt rusty and I was more than a little nervous at my first attempt at teaching at the new church, but all the same it was delightful to be able to dig into a subject (the Sermon on the Mount), prepare a lesson and get to discuss it with folks.
Thinking about how thankful I was for the class, I also reflected more generally. I looked around the church as it filled and thought about all of the people I have had the chance to get to know in the past six months here. I could not help but think how gracious God is in his providence.