Life is busy and fast-paced. Life tends to fill up all the allotted time PLUS some. Since that is the case, it helps to develop a flexible routine for preparing to teach Sunday School.
For lessons to be life-changing, it is necessary for the teacher to spend time with God in His Word early in the week. Otherwise the teacher will miss God-provided illustrations for the lesson. The teacher’s eyes won’t be open in the same way without having opened God’s Word and spent time in prayer early.
My suggestion is to find time on Sunday afternoon or evening to read the passage several times and pray. Don’t study the leader’s guide or other commentaries. Allow God to speak before you read what others have to say.
Keep reading the passage over again every day. Feel free to begin to add other study tools. Write down questions you have. If you have them, others may as well. Think about the setting, background, authors, and customs included in the passage. What are the significant words, places, and items included?
Seek first a word from God to you. Discern what the original purpose, message, point, or truth of the passage. What was its point to the original audience? And how does that truth or point apply to you? What is God’s expectation as a result of your encounter with Him in His Word? This is essential to understand before you consider what your class needs to know and do!
After applying the passage’s truth to your own life, turn to consider the point or truth needed by individuals in your class. Ask what does this have to do with Charlie, or Beth, or Devonna. When you recognize application that needs to be addressed, then put together a teaching plan that can lead the class in that direction. How can you facilitate them understanding, applying, and obeying?
Reaching the leader’s guide alone will seldom help you accomplish all of this. And it will not be able to be accomplished in an hour on Saturday night or Sunday morning before class.
So what is a teacher to do? Consider these ideas for finding time to encounter God in your preparation and for putting together a lesson plan which helps class members to do the same on Sunday. Which of these ideas can you add to your preparation this year?
- read the passage several times and pray on Sunday afternoon,
- get up 15-30 minutes early to spend time with God in His Word and in prayer,
- read the Bible passage for the lesson and pray during breakfast or lunch every day,
- arrive at work 15-30 minutes early to study and pray,
- invest 15-30 minutes before or after dinner in encountering God, study, and prayer,
- add 15-30 minutes to your bedtime routine for encounter, study, and prayer,
- review and pray for your lesson plan on Saturday.
If you add 15 minutes for six days, that will be three hours invested in encountering God, reading the passage, studying, developing a lesson plan, and prayer. Add this to your current preparation routine and you will be meeting God, preparing, praying, and leading your class to meet and be changed by God. Make time for God. Make time meet Him in Bible study as you prepare for Sunday. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!