FUMC Introduces PowerXpress - a brand-new look at Sunday school
Some people compare Sunday school to the dinosaur – it is this big thing from our past that is dying out, never to roam the earth again. What is threatening to make Sunday school obsolete? As a program, Sunday school is almost 170 years old and in many ways, it has changed very little from its original format. It is no wonder that many people think it is boring! Leah Pinto, the Children’s Director at the First United Methodist Church in Gilmer is determined to keep Sunday school from becoming extinct.
Beginning Sunday, June 2, a new Sunday school program for children in Kindergarten through 5th grade will be introduced. PowerXpress is a rotational learning program that will create a welcoming environment where students will learn about the Bible in a variety of ways. Educational research has proven that when students learn in a variety of ways, they retain much more of their learning experience. With PowerXpress, the children will experience each Bible story in many different ways: they will see and hear and touch and taste. As a result, the Bible story and its meanings will stay with them for life.
PowerXpress is an exciting new Sunday school program that feels more like Vacation Bible School. The program will allow children to be immersed in a Bible lesson for a month at a time. They will experience the story in different ways each week that will allow them to absorb the lesson at a much deeper and personal level. The multiple modality approach is designed to make the lessons approachable and meaningful for children of all backgrounds, abilities and interests. The first week of a session will introduce the Bible topic through traditional and non-traditional storytelling such as puppets, actors and dramatic presentations. The following weeks will then reinforce the lesson through Art, Games, Movies, Crafts and even cooking! Each week will be a new and vibrant experience for the children!
Imagine a Sunday school classroom where children examine Van Gogh’s Starry Night and paint their own version while discussing God’s promise to Abram when God said “Look at the sky and try to count the stars, you will have as many descendants as that.” Genesis 15:5. Or enter a room where children are playing the Laughing Game. When the giggles wind down, the teacher begins a discussion about laughter. She reminds the children how elderly Abraham and Sarah laughed when God told them they would have a baby. The teacher asks the children if they know the meaning of the baby’s name, Isaac. When they learn that Isaac means “laughter,” the giggles begin again.
While traditional Bible School programs focus on teaching a different Bible story each week, typically in a lecture format, PowerXpress focuses on creating an immersive experience for the children in which they can internalize a particular story and immediately apply the lessons to their everyday lives outside of church. By teaching month-long units for each story, the children are given a deeper understanding of the teachings of Christ.
PowerXpress will equip children with Christ-centered teaching they can use to face the challenges of daily life. They will be able to apply the lessons they learn to their lives at home, at school and with their friends. The kids will enjoy the different learning opportunities each week. The Sunday school program will use movies they watch every day to teach them Bible wisdom; art experiences straight from the Louvre, games that are exciting and challenging; and storytelling that will keep them enthralled every week!
Ms. Pinto is uniquely qualified to oversee this bold and exciting program. She has served as Children’s Director for FUMC since March 2012. Leah is the daughter of Jim and Shona Pinto. She graduated from LeTourneau University in Longview with a degree in teaching with a focus on interdisciplinary studies (which is really what PowerXpress is all about) and is currently a teacher of special education at Gilmer Elementary. Leah is the mother of a six-year old daughter who is a Princess, a Fairy, and the youngest Assistant Usher ever at FUMC. The Pintos are also the proud companions of a 1-year-old rescue puppy named SweetPea.
In conjunction with the introduction of PowerXpress, FUMC plans to introduce a new young family/adult class for families with young children who are participating in the PowerXpress classes. This class is designed to provide parents with effective, Bible-centered teachings to make families stronger.
All children in Kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to join the PowerXpress on Sunday, June 2 at the First United Methodist Church at 105 N. Montgomery Street. The PowerXpress will meet at 9:00 AM on the Second Floor of the Educational building. Our first unit will focus on Calling the Disciples. For more information, please call the Church Office at (903) 843-2610.
Leah Pinto, a graduate of LeTourneau University and a teacher of Special Education at Gilmer Elementary, has served as the FUMC Children’s Director since March 2012.