News Articles

Male teachers have lasting, positive impact on children

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (BP)–Leon Castle might be mistaken for a military recruiter because he’s constantly looking for a few good men.
He prepares them for battle, but not with guns and bombs. His recruits are armed with integrity and dependability and assigned to the children’s ministry.
When men are involved in children’s education, “it communicates that spiritual things are important, that godliness is manly,” said Castle, associate pastor at First Baptist Church, Charlottesville, Va. Castle and his wife, Nancy, also serve as state consultants for Children in Action, the Woman’s Missionary Union coed missions education program.
Most children are taught by women in church as well as preschools and elementary schools, Castle noted. In response, Woman’s Missionary Union is issuing a challenge for men to be “Dynamite Dads.”
“Christian men, fathers or not, can become a dynamite dad for a child who needs your help, a voice and the touch of God’s love through human hands,” said Kathy Burns, WMU preschool consultant.
Bo Simms, director of the missions growth team for South Carolina Baptists, teaches Mission Friends with his wife, Charlene, at Shannon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C. Mission Friends is the WMU coed program for preschoolers.
Men involved in children’s missions education “sets a pattern early in these children’s lives about the importance of studying missions and being a missionary,” said Simms, a former home missionary.
“My parents saw to it that I was involved in my day. I still remember the motto and rally cry for missions,” Simms said. The coed leaders of his missions education at College Park Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., “planted a time bomb in my life that would go off many years later.”
Burns cited a study showing 85 percent of children brought to church by both parents and taught by both men and women in the preschool years will stay in church for the rest of their lives.
The prevalence of single-parent families is one reason men need to be involved in children’s education.
“Children need a male influence. It does so much for these children who only see Mom as caregivers,” said Marcia McQuitty, associate professor of childhood education, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. and a former church preschool minister. “I always tried to get at least one man in each preschool class, especially in light of the many children who came without fathers in their homes.”
Sylvia Deloach, WMU’s children’s consultant, said the same is true for older children. “I believe the ideal church classroom for first- through sixth-grade children would contain teachers of both sexes.” She and her husband formerly taught children’s Sunday school together. “The pooling of our gifts and interests made for much more creative teaching,” she said.
Castle said men and women working together in children’s education “gives a more balanced approach to life.” One reason is that men are more apt to allow children to be risk-takers.
Fields Young, third grade Sunday school department director at First Baptist Church, Shelby, N.C., said men are important in children’s education because “women can’t explain how men in the Bible think. Children need a man’s perspective.”
Young, real estate manager and developer, also teaches children because he considers it a wise investment.
“I still remember verses I learned when I was 8 years old,” he said. “Our children need to know how to find things in the Bible. When they’re older and in some crisis situation, they will recall these verses.”
Young likes teaching third graders because “that’s one of the most formative years in a child’s life. It’s when many children come to know Christ.”
Castle agreed. “When we teach children, they have it for the rest of their lives. We’re enriching them with spiritual truths they’ll have forever.”

    About the Author

  • Sarah Zimmerman