Response 1: Anne Cooling
The questions I would pose in putting together Sunday School lessons in reference to supportive materials are: Do they offer support in teaching youth the Scriptures or the Bible Lesson Sermon without deviating from absolute Christian Science? In other words, how do they coincide with the Manual By-Law that supports Sunday School education. What is lovely about your question is that everyone—the teachers, TMC Youth and The Christian Science Publishing Society—is working from the same Manual By-Laws to support this important activity of Sunday School. And the Father is supporting and guiding our work with infinite channels to communicate His angel messages and blessing each venue of teaching.
Sometimes you may find what is on the websites will just support you as the teacher putting together your lessons, and sometimes it may be appropriate to add them in as an addition to your lessons within the class. The Father will guide you each time. In education, repeating the message of an idea you are trying to teach through explanation and then stories and examples, helps to communicate that idea better. When I taught Sunday School, for an example, we would first cover the teachings of Jesus, then read a healing example illustrating that point, and use maps and timelines to give us context. Then, we would bring the lesson forward by giving an example in our own lives or someone we knew. I would talk about how this relates to today and how we can apply it to our experience practically. The students of today are used to learning by video and audio as a supplement to their education, so this format speaks to them in terms of effective communication. Jesus in his teachings used parables, and Mary Baker Eddy often starts with the absolute truth in her writings and then gives examples or reasoning to help us understand it better. These were the common methods of teaching during their day.
The key, I think, is to have a balance with our use of other aides in the Sunday School classroom. It should not be overused or in the place of, and it needs to make sense and contribute to the lesson. Don't let it take the place of your own work or voice as a teacher. The kids will see through that. In other words, keep your teaching authentic and have what you bring to the classroom be from the right motive of healing and meeting the needs of your students. This will guide you rightly and yield results. These are just some ideas. Good question; thanks for asking!
Response 2: Mark Unger
We certainly can’t go wrong following our God-inspired Church Manual. So maybe it is best to start there and reason out from that. Since the Church Manual By-Laws are truly God inspired and not just something Mary Baker Eddy came up with on her own, it would make sense that we can constantly go back to those By-Laws and continue to get inspiration, even new inspiration. She saw it as a document for now and eternity as she once wrote in her book, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: “Notwithstanding the sacrilegious moth of time, eternity awaits our Church Manual, which will maintain its rank as in the past, amid ministries aggressive and active, and will stand when those have passed to rest” (p. 230).
Looking into the Manual the overriding idea that stands out to me in regard to Sunday School teaching is that the Scriptures are to be taught. The By-Laws also tell us which parts of the Scriptures to begin with and so on.
If that is what God is telling us to do, then it would seem that we could use whatever resources become available to do that. Resources will no doubt change between now and eternity. If there is something that can be used to help young people relate to and understand the Scriptures better we should consider making use of it.
We need to keep in mind that nothing can substitute a teacher’s own living of what they themselves are learning in their study and application of Scriptural truth. This is what gives conviction to our teaching. And yet many times we can be learning right along with the students.
I have used some of the resources on the The Mother Church web site now and then when teaching high school students. One time, I remember showing a short video as a way to help start a discussion on a particular topic. I haven’t done this, but I also could imagine using something on the Ten Commandments or Beatitudes or Lord’s Prayer or other Scripture that is from the The Mother Church web site, or any other web site for that matter, as one of a variety of things when teaching the little children, too.