So, you’ve been asked to teach Sunday School or lead a session of Children’s Church. The thought can be daunting. The good news is with just a bit of reading you can have more knowledge than your students. Plus, kids just want to have fun, so if you just have a good time while you’re leading the kids, they’ll love the lesson, and you’ll be surprised how much they remember. These Nine Steps to Teaching Kids have been my secret to success for years!
Below you’ll find nine easy steps to keep you on the right track as you prepare and lead. If you have more questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll answer them next!
1 Find the one point you want the kids to remember
Some lessons will have a theme, or you’ll see a phrase repeated in the curriculum. You can help children remember the lesson by repeating one phrase several times.
I like to repeat the phrase at the end of each activity and a couple of times during the Bible story. It could be the memory verse or a line from the Bible Story. If you don’t know what the lesson is you want the children to learn, they won’t know either.
2 Start to look at the lesson as early as possible.
When I’m leading young people, I like to get the lesson out and read through it on Monday. Even when I worked full time, I looked through it as early in the week as I could.
3 Choose which activities you’ll do
If you read through the lesson quickly on Monday, then Tuesday is the perfect day to choose the activities you’d like to use. Most lessons have at least three or four activities to reinforce the lesson. During a forty-five minute session, you’ll only have time to do two or three max. If your classes last an hour or longer, you may be able to use all the activities.
Choose the activities and make a list of what you’ll need. If your organization has someone who buys the supplies, send a message to make sure they’ve been purchased. Otherwise, keep the list handy for the next time you’re out.
Hopefully, the lesson will tell you how the activity ties into the main point. If not, you’ll want to find new activities or creative ways to tie the main point to the activity.
4 Find the Bible story in scripture and read it from a few versions.
This is why it’s so great to start on Monday. If you look through the lesson on Monday and choose your activities on Tuesday, you can read the scripture on Wednesday through Friday.
By reading it from several different Bible translations, you can begin to make it your own. You’ll be able to animate the story with your vocal inflections (or if you’re an artist, you might want to draw pictures to go with the story – I’ve never done this – there’s a reason – but it would be a great addition to the lesson if you have the talent)
5 Tell the lesson to your plant (or cat or dog)
Practice telling the Bible Lesson on Thursday. You may not need to do this once you’ve led the class a few times, but to start out this will give you confidence. Remember to keep your voice animated. Ask questions throughout the lesson, for instance, “Can you say ___?” and have them repeat. Or “Do you know what a ____ is?” whenever you come across a word they might not understand. Try not to read the lesson. To tell the story as if it were your own with the Bible open in front of you will hold the children’s attention longer.
6 Practice Making the Craft
But only if you have time. Most kids crafts are so simple you needn’t do them ahead of time. But if you see one that you can’t quite figure out or you think the kids will need to see one complete, get busy.
7 Get to the church early
Don’t wait till the last minute to arrive. Be early so you can make sure everything is where you need it to be in the ministry area.
8 Have Fun
But not too much fun. You don’t want to be one of the kids, that will scare some of the children. Most want an adult to be in charge, and an adult who knows how to have fun while making everyone follow the rules is the best adult possible.
This should probably be #1 in the Nine Steps to teaching kids. Spend time each day praying for yourself and the children you will lead. When the Holy Spirit is there with you, He can help the kids remember what you can’t.
Adult leaders make the biggest impact on kids. Their parents are trying to teach them and raise them right, but often it takes an adult outside the house affirming their parents’ message to convince a child. Every young person needs one extra person to show them love and support. When a teen has a whole team of people they might let down, they’re less likely to follow the crowd into trouble. You could be the person the children talk about together when they’re 50.
Don’t panic, you’ll do fine. If you forget these nine steps to teaching kids, remember just one thing. Nothing matters but Jesus. If you forget the main phrase or get off the subject, nothing matters except Jesus. If the craft is a fiasco and someone gets bruised during the game, Jesus is the only thing that makes any difference. Just remember to tell them about Jesus!