Last week, during Sunday Night Live, I asked our students to list the things that make our youth group unique. The hope was to come up with a set of characteristics that we could turn into a video script. When a young person looks for a church, one of the first places that they look is the internet, so having a video online that clearly states who we are and what a student can expect is important. Our students came up with a wonderful list of characteristics. Here they are:
We are First Baptist Waynesboro Youth
We are loved and loving
We are accepted and included
We are a family
We are a community
We are more than a Sunday school
We learn, we grow, and we serve our community
We fellowship together
We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly
We welcome questions and curiosity
When you walk through these doors, you are safe
Here, you can be you
No Matter who you are
There are many great things on this list. But the one that stands out to me is: “we are more than a Sunday school.” How cool is that?! Our students recognize that being a Christian is more than hanging out with friends and talking about the Bible.
They’re on to something.
The author of James writes, “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like.” (James 1:22–24, NRSV)
Instead of emphasizing the intellectual pursuit of knowledge or the rote memorization of scripture, when talking about religion, James highlights the active measures of faith. Our Church, like James, recognizes that faith is to “Do, Love, and Walk,” not to “think, talk, and think some more.”
Of course, there is a time and place for Sunday school. James isn’t telling us to get rid of it. What he is saying, however, is that scripture should lead us beyond the Sunday school room, and this is precisely what has happened with our students. By reading and studying scripture, they have learned that they are “more than a Sunday school.” Their faith goes beyond the loft and takes them to places like Love Inc, where they served our community during DNOW; to places like Atlanta, where they served the Andrew P. Stewart Center and helped rehabilitate a home in a low income community; to places like Morganton, where they have helped build homes for people in need.
I could go on and on, but the point is this: Our students are “doers” and not merely listeners. James would be proud of them, and we should be too.