Last month I was at my parent’s house and my mom mentioned that she had come across my “Sunday School pins” and thought I might want to take them home with me. For those of you who grew up Southern Baptist and are over the age of 50, you probably remember the pins we were awarded for perfect attendance in Sunday School. Each year that we had perfect attendance, we received a pin to add to our collection.
I hadn’t seen these pins in years. As I took them out of the box and “reconnected them,” I was reminded of one memory especially. When I was probably about 11 or 12 years old, my brother and I spent the weekend with family who lived out of town. This was a rare treat and we had lots of fun. However, on Sunday morning, I woke up to discover that it had been decided we were not going to church. I never knew the reason why – we just weren’t going. While we were playing outside, all I could think of is how “weird” it felt not to be at church and that I wasn’t going to get my Sunday School perfect attendance pin that year.
While we don’t award perfect attendance Sunday School pins at my church or other churches I’ve been a member of over the years as an adult, these pins remind me of the following:
They remind me of a habit that was developed at a very young age in my life – that of going to Sunday School and Church on a weekly basis. My parents didn’t give us the option of whether to go to church or not. Just like they didn’t give me the option of going to school or brushing my teeth, going to Sunday School and Church wasn’t a choice.
They remind me that I had a strong Biblical foundation laid through Sunday School as different adults taught me growing up about God, how He created us, and worked in the lives of people throughout the Bible. I am thankful for all the teachers that served weekly and who invested in my life and are a part of my spiritual journey.
They remind me that because of my parents and church partnering together – laying spiritual foundations, I became a Christian at a young age.
They remind me that because of this “habit” that was developed, I have always been a part of a church family. A church family that we have served alongside with in VBS and on mission trips. A church family that has celebrated as we were married and later when we had our two boys. A church family and Sunday School class that has supported and walked along with us during the tough challenges in life.
These pins also represent a couple of challenges for me as a parent and Kids Minister:
The challenge for us as families to continue to develop this habit of weekly involvement of our families in Sunday School and Worship. (Based on Lifeway’s Research, Jana Magruder shared with us in Nothing Less – Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of faith that the average regularly attending family is at church 2-3 times a month). With busy lifestyles and kids involved in multiple activities, attending Sunday School and church is becoming less of a habit. This means less of an opportunity for churches to partner with parents in laying spiritual foundations and less likely for our kids to be in church as young adults.
The challenge that in the midst of busy family schedules, it is often hard to find the needed volunteers to teach our kids in Sunday School. As a Kids Minister, I am reminded of the huge impact that volunteers in Kids Ministry have as they serve and as they teach our kids each week. They are helping lay life-long spiritual foundations. They are planting seeds and helping introduce kids to Christ.
While I know that these pins don’t make anyone “more spiritual” because of perfect attendance, I appreciate the value that Plentitude Baptist Church placed on helping me develop that habit of weekly Sunday School and worship attendance while I was growing up. Even though many years have passed, this is still a priority and a habit for our family – to be at church on Sunday morning in Sunday School and worship.
I was glad when they said to me, “let us go to the house of the Lord!” Psalm 122:1