You prayed and prepared well. You arrived early, prepared the room, and welcomed attenders. When it was time, you started on time with announcements and prayer requests. The lesson began with lots of discussion. Then before you knew it, the Sunday School hour was over and you apologize again for not getting finished with the lesson.
Energy is invested early and time runs out. Too much talk happens (by attenders or the teacher). Closing moments are crucial. Neglect here is like delivering a great sermon but offering no invitation for response. When the lesson helps attenders meet God in Bible study, a response is always needed.
What are some of the ways neglect happens? And what can teachers do to avoid closing moment neglect? I will address the second question in Part 2.
Six Sources of Neglect
- Poor planning. Running out of time before preparing for the closing moments results in neglect. Poor planning results in a poorly balanced understanding of how much time parts of the lesson will take. Without a plan, you will not start on time, stay on time, or end on time.
- Poor time management. Good time management knows how much time each lesson section should take. It requires knowing how to adjust when a section goes long or short. Cramming too much in the opening or middle moments naturally leads to closing moments neglect.
- Not starting on time. Waiting to start until everyone arrives trains the group to show up late. Announce and establish a set start time. If needed, have private conversation with late arrivers. You could move the lesson first with announcements and prayer to follow–just remember to save time for them.
- Too much class business. Allowing class business and prayer requests to go long cuts into lesson time. Target a lesson start time and implement creative ways to handle class business when start time is repeatedly missed.
- Too much material. Too much material will make middle moments go long. That means something has to be cut: either opening or closing moments or the material. Is there a way to cut the verses? Is there a way to summarize a deleted section.
- Interruptions. Plan for interruptions you learn about early, but how do you handle what you cannot anticipate? Look over your plan for places to trim or cut out, but try never to neglect closing moments.
Think through this list of neglect sources. Which are common for your class? What can you do to address those sources? in Part 2, I will address ways to avoid closing moment neglect. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!
I address neglect of closing moments (chapter 16) and much more in my book, Disciple-Making Encounters: Revolutionary Sunday School. Press the link to learn more and order a copy. For discounts on larger orders, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.