So you have been serving in the children’s dept for 25 years and the Sunday’s never seem to get any easier or you’ve just been recruited and have no idea where to start, either way teaching and leading can be stressful all by itself. I want to share 5 things you can do to help reduce stress in teaching and leading and have a more productive time while serving.
- Be Prepared- Elementary right? This is a simple one but it sneaks up on you. You have every intention to study, prepare, and organize before hand but you got busy and life happened. An easy way to prepare is to have a process that only uses small pieces of time and is portable. After your class, take next weeks lesson and log a few notes into your phone or iPad and set a reminder for a time the next day that you are sure to be available, like just before bedtime, or in the afternoon. When the reminder goes off, take a few minutes to look at your notes for the next lesson and pray for God to reveal to you what He wants to communicate the next week. Set another reminder for the following day. When the alarm goes off, review your notes, look up the passage and perhaps practice the story you’ll tell or even look for some media that goes along with it.
- Set a schedule for your class time. Divide time into small increments that pyramid. “5-10-20-10-5= 50 mins. It might look like this:
- 5 mins- Connect Time
- 10 mins- prayer request and lesson intro
- 20 mins- Main Content
- 10 mins- debrief and discuss content
- 5 mins- review, clean up, pray, and dismiss
By dividing up the class time into smaller increments it becomes more manageable. You can make this visual by creating pictures that represent each category and hanging them on the wall. Once you have completed each section you can turn it over. This will help the kids connect how much time is left and reducing the anxiety of “when will we be done”.
- Maintain Control- Remember this is your class that you are leading or teaching. You are in charge. Be prepared for that to be challenged. In every group there is at least one kid who will push the boundaries. Just because your in a church setting doesn’t mean you don’t have options for discipline. We want kids to come and feel loved and welcomed but that doesn’t mean we are a doormat! When a class is out of control nobody wins. Amen? Which leads me to # 4
- Recruit a co-leader.– Find someone who can co-lead with you. It should be someone who is committed and reliable. Someone you will enjoy working with. Don’t wait until the Children’s Pastor or Sunday School director finds you one but go ask someone. You’d be surprised at how many people want to help but need to be asked. It doesn’t mean you teach one week and then they teach the other. You will maintain a lead position and teach the bulk of the class. The role of a co-leader is to assist you with many different things such as:
- Maintaining order and helping kids engage. This is who should take care of the chatty Kathy and if needed take kids to restroom etc. This will allow you to keep teaching without interruption.
- Helping kids find verses or assisting them with crafts.
- Preparing crafts.
- Helping dismiss kids
- Cover for you in case of absence or late
- PRAY- Spend time before your class time simply praying, asking for God’s help. He wants to help you and you need His help. Make a list of the kids in your class and pray for them during the week and if you have a certain child that is trying your patience, spend some extra time pray for the situation.
While this is not full proof, it will go along way to helping reduce stress and have a more productive class. Things are always going to pop up and you might not be able to do all of these but you can pick one. Which one can you work on today, this week that would make a big difference? I would love to hear your thoughts.