I love seeing passionate people act to make a difference. A mum I recently met was such a person. Her kids attend their local state primary and high schools. She enjoys serving her local community through the school's P&C, sharing ideas that could be a blessing to her school community. One thing stood out to her early on, there was a gaping hole in the SRE classes in the high school. So she did something about it.
She spoke to her church minister. She spoke with the school. She completed Youthworks’ SRE accreditation training. And she became the SRE teacher in the school! Wow, that’s impressive; decisive actions, driven by her passion. I pray for more Christians to act like her. I’m not just thinking parents or grandparents, but this could include anyone: single, or married, kids or no kids. And even if you can’t teach, there are ways to support SRE in your school.
I think as Christians we like the idea of SRE being taught at our schools and that we have that choice for our kids. We know it is a good thing. But it’s another thing to consider joining the team of teachers. For many Christians there feels like several barriers that prevent us from acting and getting involved like the mum I mentioned above. Sadly, many don’t know those barriers are not too difficult to overcome.
There is training Not all of us have a background in teaching as this mum did. But what many don’t know is that to be a Scripture teacher you need to complete SRE accreditation training. This includes classroom management training. You can be ready and equipped to face a class with confidence.
There is support Most churches will not throw you straight into teaching on your own. You might be able to observe an experienced teacher, be a helper for a while or share a class.
Knowing what and how to teach This is another fear we can face. Sure, we teach the Bible, but where do you start? SRE teachers are given a curriculum to teach. It’s been developed by trained teachers and theologians to engage students at an age-appropriate level. Yes, training in the SRE curriculum is another part of the SRE accreditation training. In fact, you can’t teach unless you have completed these training sessions.
“But I haven’t been to theological college, how can I answer all those student’s questions?”
That was what ran through my head…I was also afraid at first. I learnt that as I taught SRE I grew in my own understanding of the Bible and so, to my surprise, I could answer quite a number of questions that came up. But I also got good at saying:
"Wow, that’s a great question. I’ve never thought about that. Why don’t I write that one down so I can think more about it and get back to you?"
This was just as exciting for me as it was for my students. Sometimes I would talk about the question with others at church. I found myself growing because students asked questions I’d personally never asked before, and so they pushed me deeper into thinking these things through. It became a great joy to teach each week!
But not all of us can teach SRE, even if we want to. There are other ways to be involved and support this valuable ministry.
It is God’s work to change and soften hearts, and open our minds to understand his Word (John 10:29). Pray for the SRE teachers you know, pray for the students and families, pray for our government leaders. Does SRE feature regularly in Church prayer? Add it to the prayer roster. Some Churches run prayer breakfasts once a term to hear updates and pray for everything happening in SRE in your area. Pass on the news and join them.
Be involved in your local school
Join the P&C and speak up for SRE. Having Christians involved in shaping school culture and policy is always valuable.
Say thank you
SRE can be a lonely ministry, unseen by most of the church congregation. Ask an SRE teacher how their class is going. Send a thank you card or encourage your child to write a thank you. You don’t even need to wait until Christmas.
Ask your SRE coordinator if you can help
Many churches create newsletters with photos of the SRE team and information about the church to distribute to children and families at school. Perhaps you could help take photos of the teachers or put the newsletter together. Perhaps you could start a prayer newsletter for the church so SRE teachers could share prayer requests and praise points. Or if your church is part of a high school SRE board that does all these things as a group of churches, become a member.
I have heard of an elderly woman who was housebound and physically unable to do much to support SRE. But she was an amazing blessing to her church’s SRE team. What did she do? She folded flyers, and filled envelopes, and prayed for the families who would receive them as she did so: wonderful.
There are lots of different ways parents can support SRE ministry. You could be like the mum who became the answer to her own prayers and started teaching SRE. You could be the answer to another prayer in giving much-needed support or encouragement to another teacher. What could you try?