So far we’ve looked at the first three of our 5 Ps for productive planning. If you haven’t read parts 1, Pray about the Upcoming Session, 2, Prepare your Heart for the Session, and 3, Plan the Session be sure to read those posts to catch up. Let’s jump in for the final 2 phases:
Play Out the Session
We can see from the previous phases that our session really begins before whatever our scheduled session time is. This section of our conversation will be shorter since these are posts about planning. In this phase, we are putting all of our preparation and planning into action.
A few thoughts about the actual session though may be helpful. Remember to arrive early, whenever possible. Many KidMin leaders ask their teachers to be ready to receive kids 15 minutes before the scheduled session start time. This is a great habit. Not just to put a smile on the face of the ministry leader, but also for that first child who arrives. Being prepped and ready when the first child arrives communicates to that first child and her family that you are excited to teach the important truths of the Gospel. It coveys that the children are valued and that you believe the time spent in Bible study is important. Use this time wisely and get to know your kids and allow your kids to get to know each other. This is a great time for building relationships.
Everything we have talked about up to this point demonstrates that having a plan is strategically important. So have a plan, but be flexible and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s movement in your group. You\’ve been praying for God to move in the lives of your kids throughout the planning process, so don’t miss an opportunity for the Spirit of God to work because you’re stuck in your plan.
Pursue Session Follow Up
Finally, just as the session begins before the scheduled start time, follow-up may continue the session beyond the time the last child is picked up. In our Plan the Session phase, we made a plan for follow-up. Now is the time to work that plan.
Even in our digital age, kids love to get cards in the mail. Mail cards to your class regularly. This may not be every week, but determi9ne a strategy. Here is one card strategy to consider:
- First-time Visitors receive cards early during the week following their first visit.
- Regular attenders receive cards once a month and on their birthdays. Don’t wait for a faithful attender to be absent before she receives mail.
- Absentees receive cards.
- Parents receive cards once a quarter.
Another part of follow-up includes the parents of the kids in your group. Many parents are longing for resources to continue their kids’ learning at home and to help disciple their children. Regularly including parents would be a great part of your strategy for follow-up.
Pray again. Hopefully your whole planning process has been saturated with prayer. As a bookend, remember to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving after your session ends to thank God for working in you and through you to reach the kids in your church and community. What a privilege we have of serving the next generation of God’s Kingdom.
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.