Biblical Sunday school instruction should necessarily, in some form, include creedal and catechetical instruction—the historical pedagogy of the church. Children need the consistent rhythm and coherence that such instruction affords. We must endeavor to pass on sound words that will form the habits and patterns of thought that will prepare our children’s souls for spiritual growth even as they mature physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
And what of adults? Truthfully, there are more similarities between kids and grown-ups than there are differences. Like children, we adults are prone to forgetfulness and to being satisfied with ease. Like the new converts whom Scripture compares to infants who need their mother’s milk, we need easily digestible teaching—catechesis and repetition, faithfully distilled and communicated by qualified teachers. A steady diet of such teaching spurs us on to the maturity to which we are called in Christ (Heb. 6:1; see also Col. 1:28). Moreover, as we parents receive sound Sunday school instruction, we can more faithfully fulfill the call to diligently teach our children “the things that are revealed [which] belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut. 29:29).
What might this look like at the practical level? Here we will find variation based on ecclesial and doctrinal commitments. Our aim, as in matters of safety and protection of our young ones, ought to be exclusionary, not of any specific person, but of any hint of doctrine that might disrupt our theological purity and relational unity. We at once want to pursue discipleship that strengthens our commitment to the peace and purity of the church.
At Saint Andrew’s Chapel, in order to ensure that we have qualified teachers for every age level, we assess potential teachers in three areas: covenantal, doctrinal, and relational. First, teachers must be members in good standing for at least six months. Second, regardless of age, our teachers must subscribe to the Westminster Standards, with limited approved exceptions. For adult Sunday school, we also require that teachers must either be ordained officers of the church, pastoral interns, or part of the ministry staff. Third, potential teachers must be active in the life of our church; they must be committed to the mission of the local church and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ensuring that these standards are met allows us to make sure that the flock of Christ entrusted to our care is being fed the pure Word of Christ and protected from error.
Ultimately, the glory and exaltation of God is the end of all things, including elementary-age Sunday school classes. Therefore, the teachers to whom we entrust our children matter immensely.