A Memorable Sunday School Class

I have a testimony of preparation. I spend a great deal of time preparing my lessons.  I do not believe that “winging it” brings the same results.

However, I also believe that the Spirit sometimes redirects a classroom to an unexpected place if the teacher has the flexibility to let the Spirit take the reigns, even if it means setting aside her carefully prepared notes.  My most memorable Sunday School class experience was a spontaneous moment like this when I was a teenager in a class of 16 and 17 year-olds.

A girl in the class stood and told us that several weeks before, she had overheard someone say something offensive about her at church. She did not say who the culprit had been or what he said, but she did say that she couldn’t believe anyone thought of her that way and for awhile she had avoided coming to church so she wouldn’t have to see that person. Now, she had decided to forgive and move on.

Shortly after she finished speaking, another classmate stood up.  He said that he was sorry.  He had been wrong and he was trying to learn to control his thoughts and his words.

And then someone else stood.  He expressed admiration for both of the previous speakers.  He talked about how he didn’t know if he would have been brave enough to admit to wrongdoing in front of everyone, as that boy had just done.

I never asked what the offensive comment was that sparked this exchange.  Other details I have simply forgotten—what was the lesson about?  Who was teaching?  Why did the girl stand up and speak in the first place?  But I remember that moment.Sunday School

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at aprilyoungb.com.

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5 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    That is really powerful.

    And to me, at least, powerfully demonstrates that they felt safe speaking in that class. Real things. Not just “pat answers.”

    Some of the best Sunday School experiences happened for me when I WAS 16 or 17. My class’s teacher was a mortician, and had previously been excommunicated and re-baptized. It was not that he completely disregarded the lesson manuals, but, it was that he made it very clear that we could ask him any question about the church or himself that we wanted, and he would do his best to answer. He let the discussions get the good kind of off topic, the kind of off topic where we were talking to him about our very real concerns in high school and how they gospel might apply. We didn’t need to use the lesson’s stories. We used our own.

  2. Emily U says:

    I loved this story. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Mhana says:

    I think one of my favorite moments was when I had a girl (15 I think) ask me to explain how it was possible for people who lived in the Old Testament (what we were studying) to repent, if Jesus hadn’t been born yet and the Atonement had not been performed. We had a really good discussion and they were deeply engaged. Teenagers are a lot of fun.

  4. Caroline says:

    Wow, good for that girl. I would never have had the confidence to say that, particularly if the perpetrator was in the room with me. And good for the boy too.

  1. November 1, 2015

    […] A Memorable Sunday School Class Being open to redirection from the Spirit while teaching class… […]

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