Studies have shown that most Sunday school teachers prepare for their classes for less than 30 minutes—often after 10:00 on Saturday night! It is absolutely impossible for you to have the kind of exciting, dynamic classroom, where children discover wonderful things about their heavenly Father, when their teacher has spent less than 30 minutes preparing for the class. God cannot bless such a lack of preparation, nor can you expect your lesson to be a success and effectively reach young lives for Jesus.
As Christians, we are called to do our best in all situations. Colossians 3:23 commands us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (NIV) Here is a simple, effective way to prepare for each Bible lesson you present. When you return home from teaching a lesson, before you go to bed, read over the lesson for the next week. Pray for the children, and ask the Lord to help you prepare and make the lesson come alive for your children. Pray about any struggles or concerns the children are experiencing in their lives. Ask God to open their hearts to His Word, taught through you. Ask Him to remove from your mouth any words that are not from Him. And ask Him to give you wisdom from His Holy Spirit as you respond to questions from the children and help them understand His Word.
As you go about your daily activities during the week, the Lord will be working in your life to prepare you for your Bible lesson. Watch for examples of God working in your own life that might help the children understand the Bible lesson and begin to apply it themselves.
Then, several days before your Bible lesson, reread the lesson outline and Scripture, learn the Bible memory verse and any new action rhymes, songs, games, or activities. Gather your visuals and practice telling the Bible story or presenting your lesson until you can do so without relying heavily on a script. Try making the craft, and be sure you have planned for all the necessary supplies and tools.
Then it’s time to pretend: while you are going about your everyday activities—washing dishes, going to work, making the bed, showering, exercising, etc.—pretend! Pretend that you are telling the Bible story, leading an action rhyme, and using directed conversation to focus the children on the Bible theme or memory verse. Do it over and over again until you can do it from memory.
As the children arrive for your lesson, it’s too late to prepare or plan anything, so encourage all leaders and helpers to arrive 15 minutes before the class begins. Have a moment of prayer, thank God for helping you prepare, and ask Him to guide you through the lesson. Be sure every preschool learning center is set up and ready to go, craft and game supplies for all ages are gathered, all the snacks are ready, and visuals are in order. Then take a deep breath and greet the first precious child with a hug or a high five and a smile!