I mentioned Mr. Erkes in my last post. He was my 6th Grade Sunday School teacher and he reminds me of how important a good Sunday School class can be. I didn't realize it at the time, but he helped change my life.
Mr Erkes was a hardcore Sunday School teacher. By the time I entered his class, he had taught the 6th Grade class for many years. He taught for several years more after I left. The sign outside the room said "Parlor" but everyone in the congregation called it, "Mr. Erkes Room."
Each year he added new things to the classroom to make it even more interesting than the year before. Long before there were such things as learning stations, Mr. Erkes had created his own learning stations. Often it was a game he invented to help us learn something about the Bible. We only got to play these games before class started so most of us tried to get to class early so we could play them a little longer.
'Peanuts' was a very popular cartoon then, so Mr. Erkes converted all our Bible stories to flip charts with 'Peanuts' characters in the stories. I still remember Snoopy, dressed in a robe, leading the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Even today, I am amazed at his creativity.
I mentioned Mr. Erkes' heart and compassion in the previous post. He made sure we were involved in our world, too. Each year, there was a Korean orphan that our class 'adopted'. Their picture was posted and we would exchange letters back and forth. Much as is done today, a certain amount of money was sent to help cover the clothing, schooling and medical expenses of a selected orphan. To raise the money, we all went through our neighborhoods collecting newspapers for recycling. We would bring the papers with us every Sunday and Mr. Erkes would take the papers to the re-cycler and then tell us the following Sunday how much we had raised. We learned that we belonged to a world larger than ourselves. We also learned how to be a part of Christ's mission in that world.
There are lots of other examples, but the point is: Mr. Erkes is a great example of the effect that one Sunday School teacher can have on a group of kids- an effect that lasts a lifetime. That is the power of a Sunday School teacher.
Thank you, Mr. Erkes, and thank you to all the Sunday School teachers who are doing the same thing with our kids today.