2020-02-26 to 28 Pictures: Charleston, South Carolina

One of the few upsides of having to cancel our Spring Break trip last March at the onset of the pandemic is that we are "stuck" with a rather large voucher from one of those discount airlines. Last autumn, Tricia and I spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had a...

A John 3:16 Craft for Kids

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and reassuring verses in the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV) The following is a little craft I threw...

2020-03-01 Pictures: Lyndsey’s College Signing Day

This afternoon Lyndsey made it official, signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Hiram College Terriers starting next year. While she made the decision and committed to Hiram before Christmas, she has been looking forward to this day since her...

2020-02-13 Pictures: Lyndsey’s 18th Birthday

I am little behind on posting photos. These are some of my favorites from a couple of weekends ago when we got a chance to celebrate Lyndsey's 18th birthday. It's hard to believe that my little girl is officially an adult. It was nice to have the family all back...


Introduction I love working with kids, and I love teaching them hard concepts in ways they can understand. To that end, for years I have been working on a dictionary of theological terms for kids and teens. In sharing those definitions, there seemed no better place to...

If You Want It Done Right

In all likelihood, you know how the phrase ends: If you want it done right, DO IT YOURSELF! This is a bit of a mantra for me, and frankly, something that I struggle with daily both in leadership and in my Christian walk.  In theory, this is easy to accept. ...

What Does God Hate?

This is the little and humble post that started it all. I happened to be reading through my Bible, and this passage impacted me so much that I posted a little blurb about it on Facebook. That was July 28, 2008, and I've been writing and sharing ever since. (Maybe...

#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.

Return to the Tips for Large Group Teaching in Children’s Ministry index page.




  1. Lin Pearson

    I couldn’t agree more, Wayne. Prep is vital.
    I also find that making lists is helpful for me, too. That way, as soon as I think of something it is recorded. getting older I find I need that more.

    I remember turning up at a service with the wrong bag of visuals. identical bags for a youth event and a childrens event – not a good idea! Fortunately my colleague is a tremendously good story-teller! So the loss of the lesson visuals was not an enormous handicap.

    But from that day onward we kept a list of everything that was needed, and before we loaded the car we eye-balled each individual item.
    Oh yes, and we colour coded the bags!!

  2. Wayne Stocks

    I love lists. My wife makes fun of me for keeping lists of my lists. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story. I haven’t done exactly that, but I have been left lacking a key part of my presentation before when I was sure I had it. When I write up my lesson each week, I have a section for everything I need to bring. The last thing I do each week is make sure everything is in my box so nothing will be missed.

    Thank you for commenting on the post. I love to receive comments as it makes this blog much more interactive.