For a “Church School Startup” Sunday

Preparation: Place two slips of paper in the bulletin – first slip has on it, “I ask you to pray for me, each day, as I work to learn of Christ’s teaching, God’s love, and the Spirit’s guidance in my life. Thank you for accepting this important task. God’s blessings be with you. ___________________ (Please print your name here)” On the back of that same slip should be written, “God of heaven and earth, thank you for the blessing of ____________ in your world. Hear my prayers for her/his life and growth. May s/he be open to your guidance and the teaching of those you have sent to him/her. Fill her/him with your love and grace, so that s/he might share your gifts with the world. Amen!” The second slip has on it “_________________ (place for another’s name). You are in my thoughts and my prayers. God’s love and my love are with you. _____________________ (Please print your name here.)”

Instructions to the congregation:

Today we start another year of Christian nurture and learning in our congregation. Sometimes it’s hard for us to remember that, while some of us take special responsibility for teaching or learning, all ofus are both students and teachers when it comes to growing in faith.

Many of the children of our congregation will be taking part in our Sunday school program. Some will also be taking part in our Junior Youth Group. many of the adults in our congregation will be taking part in our various faith nurture times. All of us will be learning in our day-to-day lives.

Let’s take a moment to pray for learning:

God… we give you thanks for the gifts of curiosity and learning. Than you for guiding us and teaching us by your Spirit. Thank you for the blessing of others on the journey. We pray for our learning and for their learning. We ask that you would help us in the difficult times, and celebrate with us in the joyful times. Help us to be open to learning in all that we do. Amen!

There will be people in our congregation who take on special responsibilities for helping individuals and groups as they grow as disciples of Christ. Sunday school teachers, youth group leaders, discussion group moderators, facilitators of all sorts. Let’s take a moment to pray for them:

Two: God, we give you thanks for the gifts of knowledge and compassion. Thank you for guiding us and teaching us by your Spirit. Thank you for the blessing of others on the journey. We pray for our teaching and for their teaching. We ask that you would hep us in the difficult times, and celebrate with us in the joyful ties. Help us to be open to sharing leadership in all that we do. Amen!

Today, we would like to make this covenant of prayer more personal. You have two slips of paper in your bulletin. Please take the green (Note: first slip) one out. Print your name on the bottom, please. Now, look around the congregation. All over! Who would you like to ask to pray for you? It doesn’t matter if they are your best friend, or someone who you’ve never met before. It doesn’t matter if they are just like you, or very different from you. Young, old, newcomer, long-timer. In a moment, I’m going to ask you to go and give them that slip of paper.

Now, take out the yellow slip (Note: second slip). Print your name at the bottom of the sheet. Look around the congregation. Who here would you like to pray for? Again, they may be someone you know, or someone you don’t. If you don’t know their name. feel free to ask (then write it down on your bulletin so you can take their name home with you).

Now, take those slips of paper to the people you’ve chosen.

(When everyone gets back to their seats…) Is there anyone who doesn’t have a yellow slip (Note: second slip)? (The minister takes yellow slips to those individuals, with the minister’s name printed on them.)

Please take these slips home. Put htem up on a place you’ll see regularly – your refrigerator, or your bathroom mirror, or above your desk. When you see them – pray! If you need some words to start you off, you’ll find some on the back of the slip.

Let’s take a moment, now, to pray for all the learners and teachers and growers gathered in our lives!

(First printed in “gathering: resources for worship planners” Summer/Autumn 2007)

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