Dr. Jenn Phillips is a SRE Regional Advisor with Generate Ministries and will be speaking at the 2020 SRE Conference.
As I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed, a post from a Christian brother caught my eye. Without any preamble or explanation, he posted the sentence: “I love teaching my SRE kids.” And left it at that.
It made my day!
As someone who was first taught the Bible in SRE at my local primary school and has worked as a high school SRE teacher and now SRE Regional Advisor with Generate Ministries, my friend’s post was a reminder to me of the impact of SRE, not only on students but also their teachers.
And so my message to all SRE teachers is this: please talk about your SRE classes!
Of course, there are some caveats on this. You should never publicly identify a student. Instead, what I’m encouraging you to do—with wisdom— is to take the opportunity to share among your friends, family members and Bible study group about the great things that are taking place in your classroom every week.
Ministers, if there is a way to do so, mention your SRE classes in your sermons! I was delighted to see my minister’s face light up when he mentioned something that happened in one of his SRE classes in a sermon the other week.
I doubt that many SRE teachers would need encouragement to do this. But here are three biblical reasons to do so:
1. Because children are important to God
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” - Matthew 19:14
Children are of great value in God’s sight. This may seem second-nature to us, but it wasn’t when Jesus said these words. Sharing stories of how public school students are learning about God’s Word in SRE is a concrete reminder of this. Perhaps you have stories of students whose faces light up when you share about God’s grace, or whose questions reveal they’ve been thinking deeply about issues of faith and belief. These are great things to share.
2. Because there is always a need for more volunteers
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” - 1 Corinthians 3:6
There is always more need for SRE teachers. You are far more likely to find teachers for the next year and beyond if SRE is on the agenda in your church and in your small group. How great would it be if we had a waiting list of excited to teach SRE?! Or if all classes had an SRE helper so that both volunteers can spend more time getting to know their students better, circulating around and chatting to them during workbook time?
3. Because SRE has always been blessed by faithful partners in prayer
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” - Ephesians 4:12
I love how Paul describes Epaphras! The NIV says “wrestling”, the ESV says “struggling”, and the CEV (the preferred translation for many SRE teachers) says he “always prays hard”.
We may not all be in a season where we are able to teach SRE, but we can all pray. But how can we pray if we don’t know what to pray for?
When I was a high school SRE teacher, I had a faithful band of prayer warriors— people I could reach out to with an urgent prayer request and I knew their prayers would go with me into the classroom. I was so blessed by them.
In SRE, students have the chance to meet Jesus through the Bible, and this can change lives. I know because it changed mine. I’m sure there are thousands of great stories from SRE waiting to be told, so get sharing!