We started teaching the Christmas story last Sunday…in November…in the Sunday school discipleship hour….with power tools, a virus kit, six boxes of Legos, slime, stickers, gold beads, and money.

The research from Lifeway, The Barna Group, and in my own personal experiences continue to report that one of the most impactful and equipping opportunities offered by the local church community for students who never left their faith as teens or young adults was to give young people experiences in vocational discipleship….robust conversation with Titus 2 men and women who love Jesus and are living out their calling in the world.

“Vocational discipleship involves being aware of the career aspirations of teens and young adults in our communities, and helping them to connect those goals with how God designed work.” (Faith For Exiles by Kinnaman and Matlock, pg. 156)

This is how we will teach the Christmas story this season through these experiences.

Families registered their students for their top two preferences of small groups for the seven weeks of November and December. They will remain in these small groups, in these specific spaces, with this leader for all of November and December.

K5-2nd grade – Knowing God through Sticker Art, Science, Lego building, and Games led by a musician, a scout leader, a dentist, and an evangelist. All are living out their calling to love the Lord and their neighbor in their chosen, skilled vocation.

3rd grade – We have a rite of passage/ tradition of this age level learning and making Chrismons in November then will become part of a class of K5-5th graders for Nativity worship art in December, as well as any students who begin attending after the November 8th  led by an art teacher of the year who loves the Lord and her neighbor.

4th & 5th grade – Knowing God through Nursing Science, Power Tools, Money Matters, and Worship Art led by a nurse, a general contractor, an accountant, and another art teacher of the year. All who are living out the great commandment and great commission in their daily line of work.

Each week they’ll lead their small group in learning about the major players in the Christmas story: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Gabriel, Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, the posse of animals and angels, Jesus, and the Wisemen.

The weekly online classroom will be set up each week to learn more about each major player which will also serve as the background for each of the leaders and our families with curated online content. The leads will teach the who (basic facts of the major player), the where (find it in the Bible), and the WOW! (why it matters) along with a discussion question. Then they are off to learn the focused skill for the remaining time.

With the goals of vocational discipleship, dedicated time spent with Titus 2 men and women (the best way for kids to learn to love Jesus is to spend time with people who love Jesus), and a call to families to “come on home,” I can’t wait to see how God will continue to grow kids’ hearts and minds, hands and feet, to the One and Only who loves them best: Jesus!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” Colossians 3:23