One of the most important ministries in the Orthodox Church is the instruction of its members in faith, tradition and spiritual life. For this purpose the Church calls Christian educators, priests and catechists, to participate in this very serious ministry and to become vehicles of the Holy Spirit Who is the source of all wisdom and truth. They become instruments through which God works in the lives of their pupils.
The Mission Office of Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece, in its attempt to assist the teaching of Christian educators, has undertaken the publication of a series of catechetical manuals for teachers. Eleni Ganouri, on behalf of the Mission Office, has worked toward this aim using various theological and educational books and some of the manuals for Sunday school teachers published by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission of America.
In this teacher's manual "LIFE WITH JESUS CHRIST" we have tried to present lesson plans to help Sunday school teachers fulfill their very important task in serving the Church. The main purpose of these lessons is to help the pupils to live the life in Jesus Christ.
The lessons are planned in such a way that the general theme ("Life with Jesus Christ") is to be properly served. Jesus Christ through His teaching, His life, His miracles and His death and resurection reveals the kind of life we as believers ought to live.
General thoughts for the teacher.
It must be understood that the role of an Orthodox Christian teacher is a co-operation of the teacher's personal effort and the grace of the Holy Spirit. The teacher is called from the Body of the Church and entrusted with the responsibility to help nurture the younger members of the Body of the Church. While the teacher comes with a dedicated and commited faith, along with certain talents and knowledge, he becomes a divine vessel through which the Holy Spirit flows in order to give the proper guidance and direction toward the life with Jesus Christ.
The most important factor which makes quality teaching work is a loving and dedicated teacher. Only such a person can lead other persons into the way of Christian life, and can communicate faith, love, hope, and all the other fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Saint John the Evangelist in his first epistle says: "What we have seen and heard we tell to you also, so that you will join with us in the fellowship that we have with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We write this in order that our joy may be complete" (I John 1:3-4).
The catechetical ministry is indeed most important and vital in the life of the Church. It should be undertaken in all seriousness with prayer and personal study. The teacher by his actions, his attitude, and his concern will set an example for others. His teaching should be a joyous ministry, joyous for himself and for his pupils.