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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 forgive just like Jesus did, I believe we can do the same things as the disciples did and are called by Jesus to do so.
  • To live like Jesus did (and the disciples 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 one 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 of Jesus.

The Bible gives context and shape to our spiritual language. If we, and 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 so that our children and youth can attend worship service. 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 aloud 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 bring us into the here and now of God’s Kingdom.  But I believe that it does help. Significantly so. Which is why I teach. And why I thank you for teaching, too. I know, first-hand, that church ministry is not the easiest of professions. Thank you for being the ones who help our kids grow up to be the better Church, to be unafraid and standing in God’s light; beacons of God’s hope and love to family,  friends, coworkers, and the world.

Thank you for visiting I’m Nathanael Vissia and this is my website.

Over the course of twelve years in my 20s and 30s, I worked for three different United Church of Christ congregations. This site contains the tangible results of that work.
And, in the same ways these resources helped me, I hope they help you, too.


I officially launched in November 2011 and over the years, I have been updating lessons and adding children’s sermons. At this point (with the most recent major update occurring in August, 2023), I consider the site complete. While I will continue to update the children’s sermons and make sure the site keeps running, I currently have no plans to add new content to the site.

There are a few things I’d like to share with you about the lessons and other resources on this site.

Due to the wide-ranging and varied beliefs of the congregations I served, I was often in need of Christian educational materials that taught literacy of the Bible (primarily by teaching the Bible stories) instead of teaching specific beliefs. I wanted lessons that explained the plot of the Bible stories, explored character choices, and then, depending on grade, would refer to parallel situations in other faith stories. I wanted my students to understand what happened in the faith story, what the characters chose, and what the results of those choices were in terms of the character’s life, their relationship with others, and their relationship with God. I wanted lessons that highlighted why and how the characters in the faith stories chose to improve or neglect their relationship with God.

This was a teaching approach, that as far as I could tell, was not provided by paid-for curriculum and online Sunday school lessons. Since I couldn’t find those lessons, I wrote them myself. And, the more of them I wrote, the more the approach made sense to me.

Once I started posting them on this website, I learned something else. This lesson-writing approach provides a type of lesson that educators from all denominations can use. Since my lessons do not teach beliefs, there is very little in my lessons that directly challenges existing belief systems. And, if teaching a belief system is important to an educator, that approach can always be added, by that teacher, to my lessons.

I also included some practical additions that other lessons were often missing. The most important addition was providing a lesson that contained all the words the teacher needed to say in the class. The churches I served had volunteers who taught the Sunday school classes. And, those volunteers often felt unqualified about what to say and how to say it in a classroom. So I created lesson plans that could be read to the class. Everything the teacher needs to say and everything the student needs to hear is written in the lesson. This approach also solved my other challenging issue with volunteers – they sometimes canceled last minute. Having a lesson completely written allowed for a much easier teacher substitution.

For those who are curious about me, a brief summary about me: I grew up in a CRC (Christian Reformed Church) family in West Michigan. My college background was in English and secondary education. After graduating, I taught in unconventional environments, like outdoor education and GED classes, and, of course, in churches. In 2011, I launched and I continue to be surprised at how many people have found it and consistently use it. In 2015, I led a workshop at the UCC Synod about my Sunday school teaching philosophy. I also published my book, Chaos and the Kingdom, in 2015. I now live outside Philadelphia, PA, and – somehow – work for software companies. In my spare time, I walk my dog, read, and occasionally produce (or assist in producing) other Christian education resources. In 2021, I launched as a place to post entries in an on-going prayerful conversation. I hope to launch another site in 2024.

See below for my core theology and teaching beliefs about Christian Education.