I live the near the beach. Lake Michigan is only 5 miles from my home. But getting to a beach from my home takes more work than you might think. It takes a five-minute drive and a 20 minutes walk to get to a place where I can walk to a lighthouse and feel like I’m surrounded by Lake Michigan. But I can’t swim in the lake there – it isn’t a public beach. There is a public beach that is about 6 miles from my home but you must climb up and over a sand dune to get to the beach. This isn’t a small sand dune – it’s big enough to make me think twice before I do it. Actually, I think more than twice. Getting there, of course, is only half of it - you have to climb up and over the sand dune again on the way home. Going to the beach is a lot of work but it is often worth it. Sticking your feet in the water, hearing the crashing waves and enjoying the sand and the sun are lots of fun. Seeing the sun set over Lake Michigan is a wonderful sight that never seems to get old.
Sunday School is kind of like a day at the beach. It is also a lot of work and, for me, summer can be especially busy. Summer is the time to recruit volunteers, get materials and order supplies, plan the calendar and … there is something else that I always seem to forget … oh yeah, rest. Ironically, just when people in my church think I have it easiest is when I’m spending extra time getting things in line for the new season. (Last year Jolanda Howe wrote a great article called “Before You Hit The Beach” with great ideas for summer work. Check it out!)
But just like a great day at the beach, all the work that goes into Sunday School is worth it. The relationships built between teachers and students can last a lifetime. The time where kids and adults study God’s word together forms and nurtures faith – both the faith of the kids and the adults! So if you’re stuck inside making plans for the next year when you’d really rather be at the beach – remember, this is the work part – the payoff will be there when the teachers and kids show up in a few months.