Resources for Christian Education

Nathanael Vissia

A Brief Theology

  • When Jesus says, "Follow me," I believe him.
  • When Jesus says to his disciples, "Truly I tell you, you will do greater things than I" (John 14:12), I believe him.
  • When Peter, James, John, Paul and others teach, heal and cast out unclean spirits, just like Jesus did, I believe we can do the same.
  • To do the same, to live like Jesus did, I believe that we must die to our self-centered and distracted ways and be born again in God-centered ways.  Not once, but daily. Hourly.  
  • When we do this, we are then living in the Kingdom of God. Right here.  Right now.  When Jesus says “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” I believe him.

Teaching Beliefs

1. I believe it is best to organize and plan curriculum around achieving Biblical literacy.The disciples followed Jesus for roughly 1 year, and learned what they needed to learn in that time. What they didn’t need to learn during that one year were the character names and plot developments of the faith stories. Their literacy of the faith stories prepared them to be disciples.  

The Bible gives context and shape to our spiritual language and if we, if our children, do not know the Bible, then we are lacking critical context and language with which to share, describe and discuss our faith.

2.  I believe the concept of testing is a necessary element when planning curriculum.  We must constantly ask ourselves, “If we were to test our students, what would we test them on?” And, “What answers would we want them to give?” Whatever our answers are to these questions need to be implemented into our curriculum planning – these answers are our teaching objectives.  I believe these answers should also clearly remind us that no grade, no program is an island.  All classes/grades must work together and build on what the previous class/grade taught to best propel a student’s understanding about the faith stories, Jesus, God and ourselves.

3.  I believe in experiential education.  I believe that Christian Education/Sunday school involves both teaching and instilling the disciplines of Christianity (worship, prayer, studying scripture, giving/tithing). And the best way to instill these disciplines is to do them, repeatedly.  I believe that every Sunday school class should be scripture-centered with some form of discussion around it.  I believe Sunday School should not be in competition (a.k.a. concurrent) with Sunday morning worship (our children and youth must be in worship so that they can experience worship). I believe every Sunday school class should include prayer and at times, invite the students to participate in the prayer. I believe that every Sunday school class should invite the students on a consistent basis to give of themselves (simple things are sufficient, such as reading the scripture outloud in class, or as a class, lead the congregation in singing a song).

4.  Finally, I believe that only God can save us.  I say this as a reminder that education and knowledge cannot save us.  Being invested in teaching and living in a culture that believes that the attending of college makes or breaks one’s life tempts me to believe that teaching our children the right things about God in the right way is all we need to do.  But it isn’t.  Education does not automatically enter us into the here and now of God’s Kingdom.  But I believe that it does help. Significantly so.  Which is why I do it.  

Thank you for visiting rfour.org. I’m Nathanael Vissia and this is my site.

My name is Nathanael Vissia and this website, rfour.org, contains the tangible results of my career as a Christian educator.

I officially launched rfour.org in November 2011, with the hopes that one or two other Christian Educators would find it useful. Fast forward to today, and you will find my hopes wildly surpassed.  Thank you for visiting and I hope that you have found material that is helpful and useful for your Sunday school classes and programs.

There have been requests that I share some things about myself. This page attempts to honor such requests.

I grew up in a CRC (Christian Reformed Church) family, have worked for two United Church of Christ congregations, and am currently working for a third. Other notable work places include YMCA Outdoor Education programs, Starbucks and a small medical tech company. My college background is in English and secondary education.

Below, I have shared a brief summary of my teaching beliefs about Christian Education and my theology.

I know, first-hand, that church ministry is not the easiest of professions. So I thank you for what you do. You are brave and you are noble.  And maybe even a little tired.  I know I sometimes am.  But let’s keep improving.  Let’s be the ones who help our kids grow up to be the better Church:  Unafraid and standing in God’s light; beacons of God’s hope to family,  friends, coworkers, and the world.

About rfour.org