BE A GOOD EXAMPLE
“...be thou an example of the believers,
in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
Last night during Bible study my pastor, Joel Urshan, said something to the effect of: You can have transparency (i.e., be authentic) and still be a good example. You don’t have to choose between the two.
Last night, being the first Wednesday of the month, it was Family Night when all classes are together in the sanctuary. I was in the Sunday school office taking care of some things, so I slipped into the sanctuary a little late and sat towards the back in a particular spot where I don’t believe I’ve ever sat before. I soon found out my students knew exactly where I was.
He pointed out we shouldn’t revel in our faults; we should confess them! Our transparency can then be an example of how God is working in our lives.
I was thinking about how we children’s ministry workers are a transparent example, whether we want to be or not. The kids are always watching us.
- When Gabe came back from (presumably) a trip to the restroom, he waved exuberantly from across the room. He must have noticed me, when I didn’t notice him, on his way out. After church, he made a beeline to let me know he finally remembers the last Fruit of the Spirit: temperance. He then proceeded to sing the Fruit of the Spirit (we sing them to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”). Sure enough, Gabe now remembers all nine Fruit of the Spirit!
- When Pastor read 1 John 1:9, Gavin immediately turned around from several rows in front of me, his face beaming. His look said, “We know this verse!” 1 John 1:9 is part of our memory work program in Kids’ Power Hour. We often sing it to the tune of “Where, O Where, Has My Little Dog Gone?” Gavin and I may have been humming it during the rest of Pastor’s sermon last night.
Maggie was sitting in a row directly across from me. She gave me a little wave during Pastor’s
message, and at the end when I went over to pray and talk with her, she was excited to tell me she now knows all 66 books of the Bible! We work on these in some form (game, song, etc.) every week. She can’t wait to say them in front of the class next week.
Just think what I would have missed if I had skipped church last night.
- It’s important to be at church, even when you’re not teaching. You need the spiritual sustenance of corporate worship and your pastor’s teaching. And the kids notice. They need your good example.
- It’s important to participate in the service—singing, praying, paying attention—even when you don’t feel like it. Little eyes are watching and learning from your example.
- It’s important to take time to acknowledge your students. They look to you for affirmation and love. And they are learning from your example how to give affirmation and love.
In the interest of transparency, there have been times I’ve used the “fake it ‘til you make it” method. I showed up when I didn’t feel like it. Sang until I felt like singing. Prayed until I felt like praying. Kept listening until the message finally sank in. Sometimes I felt
like a hypocrite for awhile. But I think that was just the enemy, trying to keep me from the blessing and victory God has for me.
Be transparent and also be a good example!
Think About It
- Am I setting a good example for my students?
- When I mess up, am I showing them how to make things right?
I pray God will make us all better examples "in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”