#1 – Prepare! Prepare! Prepare (Tips for Large Group Teaching)
Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.
The Bible says that those who teach will be held to a higher standard, that not all should presume to teach and that those who do teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). It also says that anyone who leads a little one astray would be better off to have a millstone tied to his neck and be thrown into the sea (Luke 17:2). Given those warnings, it would be foolish not to prepare thoroughly for your time teaching God’s kids!
Plan your lessons out months in advance. Even if you don’t put the final touches on your preparation until the week or two before, planning early will give you time to find that obscure prop or rewrite a section of a lesson when God gives you a better idea. If you have planned things out a couple of months in advance (at least preliminarily) and know what’s coming up, it gives you time to meditate on and contemplate the lesson in order to make it the best that it can be.
When it comes to final preparations and the week before you present the lesson, have a definitive plan as opposed to just a rough idea of what you want to accomplish. Know what you want to do and when you want to do it. Think about the props and/or costumes that you will use, and make sure you have everything. Keep a check list of everything so you don’t leave something out at the last second. Know how long things are going to take, and plan out with specificity the order and flow of the lesson to effectuate smooth transitions. Work each week to memorize the lesson. If you know the words you need to say, it gives you the ability to adapt on the fly without worrying that you may miss something. Put together a Sunday morning (or Saturday night) check list to make sure there isn’t anything that you are forgetting. I have never left church on Sunday thinking I wish I hadn’t prepared as much. I have left thinking I wish I had put in more time to get ready! Finally, we will discuss this more in depth in another post, but part of your preparation must include prayer.