By Brad Shrum
It was the summer of 1986, a time of heartache, chaos, and personal upheaval as my wife Kitty and I moved to Overland Park from Southeast Kansas to start a new job. The first order of business was to find a new church and we chose Emmanuel Baptist Church in August after visiting a few in the area.
I was asked to teach in September of 1987 and with a good Christian servant’s attitude I said, “Okay, but I’m only doing this for one year”. It was with a group of second graders. Little did I realize one year would actually lead to 22 years and the children’s teaching continued until August of 2008. At that time I felt like there was another service opportunity for me on the opposite end of the age spectrum. So in August of 2008, I took over the Senior Adult Class and Ministry with ages ranging from my own up to the oldest we’ve had at 97. This has been a different teaching ministry and coincides directly with me being this age group’s deacon.
I would say there are several things I have learned from volunteering to teach Sunday School these past 30 plus years:
- Being a teacher forces you to study, grow, and to truly know what you are talking about inside and out.
- The children’s ministry led directly to teaching Vacation Bible School for 13 years. To interact and build relationships with children and youth has been a blessing that can’t be put into anything tangible.
- The older age group has presented unique opportunities I had not envisioned for myself. These opportunities include many hospital visits, hospice activities such as taking communion, Sunday School lessons, and just being there as they talk about their future promotion. I’ve also had families ask me to speak at funerals and have even met with lawyers as a witness to a last will and testament. In addition, I witness the reality of growing older as I’ve seen this class shrink from around 40 to about 20 in these 11 years as members pass on or can’t continue to live by themselves. The class is made up today of mostly widows, couples married for up to 70 years, and widowers that need support and fellowship.
It’s hard to fathom that 33 years have gone by since that original commitment but I am so thankful to serve. I hope to continue my service as long as possible.
Location: Overland Park, KS
Brad has worked at MAX for the past 16 years and has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry doing underwriting, field management work, and sales. Outside of the office, Brad is an ordained Southern Baptist Deacon and a Sunday School teacher of 30 years. In addition, Brad is a long-time Vacation Bible School teacher and has an ongoing 20+ year Nursing Home Ministry. Since he was a young teenager, Brad has been an avid goose hunter, traveling across North America while pursuing this noble bird and enjoying the outdoor world.