- September 7, 2011
- By Staff, Baptist Standard
Not only did I grow up in a "Baptist orphanage," but I obtained a master's degree in social work, intending to work in child care. In order to live in the "home," I moved more than 100 miles from my origins, which apparently would be against today's government rules. But that was the best move I ever made, and growing up in the rather sizeable institution was the best situation for me at that time.
Although there now is a push for children to grow up in foster families, rather than institutions (Aug. 1 ), I would have been totally unsuited for such close intimacy with a family group.
Due to my early childhood, I was rather closed off emotionally—which is difficult for many adults to accept and understand—and that made it impossible for me to express caring physically. Most everyone I, and most of us, learn to trust and rely on early in life had failed me. I tried living with several families over the years and soon was shuffled back to the "home" because the adults could not connect with me. I never was difficult to control or live with, just detached emotionally. I was always on the honor roll, active in many organizations both at school and church, seemingly an ideal young lady.
All this to say leaving behind institutional living is a mistake, because many children who need care don't do well in the emotionally close environment of a foster home.
Sunday school offerings
Recently, I joined the "counters" to prepare the weekly bank deposit for our church. I was surprised when we began to open the offering envelopes and count the money that we had less than $1 in change. Where was all the change from the children's and youth Sunday school offerings? There was none. Our church no longer has a Sunday school offering.
Adults give the majority of the money to the church during the worship services using envelopes sent to their homes. Visitors who want to contribute can use pew envelopes. Of course, some money is placed in the offering plates. This envelope system makes it easier on the church office staff's record-keeping and simplifies the preparing of a deposit.
It is not an issue of money that I am concerned about. But it seems to me that by not having a Sunday school offering, we are failing to teach the children and youth about their personal stewardship responsibility. I realize most money given by children and youth really would be from their parents. It seems we may now inadvertently be teaching our children and youth, "Don't worry about giving until you become an adult and you are mailed a supply of offering envelopes."
Is our church following a common practice for Texas Baptist churches? Or do most of our Texas Baptist churches still have a Sunday school offering? I am really curious.
Who is in heaven?
In Sunday school, we discussed who will be in heaven. I introduced this question: In Matthew 25:32-46 Jesus describes how the people will be separated as they stand before God. Jesus states that separation is based upon the choices made by each individual. How was God's grace a part of who was on the right and who was on the left? Did those on the right really earn their salvation based upon their choices?
Class members responded that I had taken this Scripture out of context, which is partially true. I then pointed out those on the right sought a relationship with Jesus by their ministry to those in need. Those on the left claimed belief in Jesus but failed to have a relationship with Jesus. Grace is necessary for any human to be saved; however, God created humans to have a relationship with him. Those on the left failed the relationship test.
As Christians, we need to emphasize the importance of the relationship Jesus describes in this passage.