Does putting together a Sunday School or small/large group lesson seem intimidating? Does it ever feel like your leader guide just isn’t exactly what you need, but you don’t know how to modify it? How can you break down this overwhelming task to manageable bite-size chunks?
If we met for a soda one day and I asked you “what is the most important part of your ministry role?” our conversation would likely end up somewhere around the opportunity to teach kids. Many of us are in KidMin roles because we love to teach kids the gospel and biblical truth. But if you are like me, and I really pray you are not, preparation time for my teaching sessions can be the first and easiest thing on which to compromise.
I have found that just because I say the time I am teaching kids is important, doesn’t mean that core belief always translates to my active priorities. Below are the first two of “5 Ps” for breaking down your planning strategy into easy-to-handle phases.
Pray about the Upcoming Session
Paul says “pray constantly.” (1 Thess 5:17) We need to remind ourselves that prayer must not be neglected. Doing so may undercut the spiritual impact of our teaching.
In James 1:5, we are instructed to ask for wisdom if we lack it. I can’t speak for you, but there are many times, and often while I’m preparing to teach, I find that I am lacking the wisdom I need. And therefore, I need to pray and ask God for wisdom. He has promised to give it generously.
One of my favorite recorded prayers in Scripture is found in Psalm 25:4-5. David asks God: “Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me.” I find that praying this prayer when I am preparing to teach leads me to a posture of humility and strategically positioning me to hear from God’s Word.
Part of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives is to help us understand God’s Word (John 16:12-14). We must not take this for granted. We are doing spiritual work, and we must make spiritual preparation. Prayer is not limited to just before planning. No, prayer should permeate each of your preparation phases. It should be the current that carries us along as the Holy Spirit uses us to help kids fall in love with Jesus and His Word.
Here are a few specific prayers I have found helpful to pray as I begin to prepare for a session:
- To prepare my own heart to receive God’s Word
- That I would rightly understand and handle God’s Word
- That I would be able to prepare and plan well and be able to clearly communicate the truth from God’s Word
- That the Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of the children who will be in my group this week to be ready to hear and receive God’s Word (pray by name whenever possible)
- That this session’s biblical truth would take deep root in each child’s heart
- That I would be sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit for when to follow my plan and when to adjust our course if needed (more on this later)
Jeremy Carroll is the team leader for Lifeway Kids Discipleship Resources. Before coming to Lifeway, he has been active in local church ministry for nearly 20 years in TN, TX, and AL. Jeremy earned a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. A Middle Tennessee native, he and his family live in Murfreesboro, TN.