Ruth Bennett teaches Sunday school to grades one through four at Northfield Church of Christ. "I started teaching Sunday school when I was in the Eighth Grade," she said.
Bennett spent her childhood on a farm outside of Goldfield and attended the Goldfield Church of Christ. It was there she began teaching Sunday school. Later the family moved to Fort Dodge and joined the Fort Dodge Church of Christ, now known as Northfield Church of Christ.
Upon graduation from Nebraska Christian College she was asked to teach Bible school. "They asked me to come and teach a week of Bible school here at the Fort Dodge church. At the end of that week I moved here and I've been here 35 years." She soon got a job at the Fort Dodge Public Library.
Ruth Bennett enjoys teaching younger students.
She currently has about nine kids, and had as many as 15 whom she calls together at the ringing of a bell.
She has the freedom to come up with her own curriculum. "I think they know I teach the Bible." If she brought up anything questionable she is sure someone would call her on it. "I usually have someone in here with me."
They had used a publisher's curriculum which rotated but Bennett got so used to it she didn't have to study beforehand. "It just seemed like oh, that lesson is coming up because I had it so memorized."
Ruth Bennett, 55, was a member of the Fort Dodge Civic Glee Club until it ended. She swims every morning at the Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center. "I loved the water park when it was open."
She loves to travel as well and until recently took an annual trip to Branson, Mo.
Shortly after moving to Fort Dodge Bennett began working in the children's room at the library where she learned to catalogue books. Through the years she became cataloguer of the whole library. "Every book that comes into the library goes through my hands and I find a place for it on the shelf," she said. "Most of the time I'm back in the office on the computer with books."
Coming up with her own lessons challenges her. "This makes me really dig into it and really makes me study it." Bennett uses words and visual props. "Kids anymore are more into words," she said.
"Some of my teaching stuff is from when my mother was teaching long ago," she said.
Much of her material comes off the computer. "It is amazing what is in the computer to help you with teaching Sunday school." Bennett said her main source is always the Bible though.
"I've done these stories, I don't know how many times, and every once in a while there is something that jumps out at me and it's like I don't remember that being in there," Bennett said.
"We teach them the main thing and that is Jesus' coming, Jesus is here, and Jesus is coming again." It is important the children know the Bible is not just a story book but it is real, she said.
"We also learn the books of the Bible," she said. "Right now we are studying Exodus and Exodus is about exit, how the Israelites got out of Egypt."
In class the children sometimes watch movies based on Bible stories and they are asked to look for mistakes in the movies that are not in the Bible.
She prefers teaching the younger children. They are more open, have not formed their own opinions yet, and are easier to reach than teenagers in Bennett's experience. "The Lord told us that we should spread his word," she said. "I know we all should be evangelists for the Lord. I feel more comfortable with the children."
"I had Sunday school teachers that were that way. They shared his love. They shared his word, and that's what I want to do for these kids."
Bennett also serves on Northfield's worship team which sings up front and assists the music leaders. "I used to play the piano for the church for years until they went to the new contemporary music." She also sings solos for the church.
"Ruth is the epitome of faithfulness. When she says she is going to do something she does it. She takes her commitments seriously. All pastors are blessed with the people they have that are like Ruth, and there aren't many of those," said the Rev. Dale Harlow, Northfield Church of Christ pastor.