Cultivating a Loving Learning Environment

Cultivating a Loving Learning Environment

by Rebecca Cedillo

In our recent webinar, “Teaching to Change Lives,” we talked about the importance of not only faithfully communicating the great truths of the Bible, but also building meaningful relationships with our students. Knowledge is vital to pass on to the next generation. So is love. We cultivate a loving learning environment when we share our walk of faith and understand the children’s unique interests, joys, and challenges. Here is a beautiful testimony of the benefits both teacher and student can experience in this relational approach.

“Is Grandma Bonnie here today?” Ten-year-old Sean waited hopefully for my response to his question. His new foster dad grinned beside him at the children’s ministry entrance.

“Yes, she is!” Those words launched him like a rocket down the hallway to his 2nd-grade classroom.

Sean’s first visit to church was the Sunday before. At that time, he was hesitant to enter the classroom until the Sunday school teacher warmly welcomed him. She engaged him in conversation and taught him and the other students that God is Faithful to All His Promises. Later that week, she mailed a handmade card to Sean and signed it “Grandma Bonnie.”

Bonnie was gripped by God’s faithful promises to her as she studied and taught the curriculum. She explained to the class that her newborn granddaughter had been expected to pass away because of a genetic condition. Despite grief and fear, her family responded to this significant trial by trusting the Lord. They drew near to God by praying and praising Him in the delivery room. To the shock of the doctors, God preserved her grandchild’s life. As Bonnie poured out her heart through this story, her students listened intently.

After the lesson, a parent reached out to me. Her child confessed his own fears and retold Grandma Bonnie’s testimony as an example of trusting God’s promises. Bonnie extended grandmotherly affection to every child who walked through her classroom door. She faithfully shepherded her students. They knew her voice and wanted to hear God’s Word from one who loved them.

The Good Shepherd taught Bonnie through his example.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

As His image bearers, we get to reflect our Shepherd’s heart. Children are vulnerable to the lies of the enemy and this world. Linking arms with parents, Sunday school teachers have the unique opportunity to provide a steady diet of biblical truth paired with loving care.

We are also sheep who struggle with trials of various kinds. Our testimonies exemplify how mature sheep draw near to the Good Shepherd. As we share the vulnerable parts of our lives and testify to God’s faithfulness, we lead little lambs to sing with us,

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture,
And the sheep of his hand… (Psalm 95:7)

Would you like to cultivate a relational classroom community? Be encouraged by other stories and examples in the “Teaching To Change Lives” webinar.

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