Life is full and you're a busy person! You already know that leading children is a 24/7 endeavor. Here are a few tips and treasures for you to ponder as you go that will help you become more effective as you lead children to love Jesus.
It's all about RELATIONSHIPS.
Kids don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Make it your goal to get to know each child you lead on a personal level. What makes her laugh? What makes him angry? Does she live with both parents? Does he enjoy school?
Plan to attend a ball game, dance recital, or musical performance. Or, just drop by their homes for a quick hello. You will learn volumes about the children you teach when you see them interacting with family and "playing on their own turf." A child will never forget the teacher that cared enough to make time to visit her at home or attend something that is important to her.
SHOW your face.
The early bird really DOES get the worm.
Begin your preparation for next Sunday's hour with your kids this Sunday afternoon. Look ahead and know next Sunday's Scripture passage and life application. Study that passage every day during the week, and ask God to grow you before you present it to the children. God has wonderful things to show you as you get ready to teach. Don't short change yourself by waiting until Saturday night to prepare!
Grab a calendar and assign a day to pray for each child you teach. Pray for that child by name and for specific needs. Let your kids know you pray for them throughout the week. Pray for each child as if you were the only one lifting her name to Jesus. After all, you just might be.
Get together with fellow children's leaders and play the games in your leader guide. You'll benefit in the following ways: you'll be reminded of what it feels like to participate in games with your peers when perhaps you feel awkward, you'll get in touch with the kid in you as you learn to have some fun, and you'll know what you need to change in order to make the game work for your particular group of kids.
KNOW the Levels of Biblical Learning for your kids.
Get your hands on a "Levels of Biblical Learning" chart as well as a "Levels of Bible Skills" chart. Locate the age group you teach and make yourself familiar with this treasure trove of helpful guidelines. Plan to meet the kids where they are as you lead them in a better understanding of God's Word.
Kids want to know how the Bible will help them TODAY as they deal with life's difficulties TODAY and as they make decisions TODAY. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a gentle boldness that will challenge the children to use what they learn in Sunday School TODAY. The Holy Scriptures are relevant, and you must help your kids take what they learn and use it in everyday living.
Don't lose TOUCH.
Whether you have children in your home or your kids are grown, you need to keep in touch with what is going on in the lives of kids in real time. Watch the programs kids are watching, listen to the music kids are listening to, and read what they are reading. Keep your eyes and ears open to the things that influence young people. It will help you understand them better as well as give you urgency as you pray for and lead them. The average child spends 37 hours per week taking in mass media. You need to stay a step ahead and be informed! (Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, by George Barna, Gospel Light publishing, page 23.)
Get OUTSIDE the walls.
Find out what your kids have an interest in and plan an outing together. Nothing heavy, no devotional thought, no deep Bible study-just pure fun. Be careful to resist the temptation to plan activities that appeal to you instead of asking kids what they enjoy. Listening to what your kids want sends the message that you care about them. When you get together to go bowling or to play a game of ball, you'll get to know your kids on a whole new level.
Remember, YOU are a picture of Jesus to your kids.
You may be the only picture of Jesus in their lives. You just might be a hero to the child who sits quietly and listens each week but goes home to turmoil. Ask God to give you the wisdom, strength, words, and ways that show the kids in your life that He loves them in a beautiful and unconditional way.
LASTLY, take a load off.
You are not a perfect soul living in a perfect world. You will have weeks that are more hectic than others; you have concerns that sometimes weigh you down. Take one day at a time, giving your concerns to the Great Healer and asking Him to use you today to bless those around you. Live each day with the goal of pleasing Jesus in action and attitude, and it will spill over into your teaching. You will have a part in showing the children that what matters most each day is that we live to please the Savior.
As leaders in children's ministries, we have been given an awesome opportunity to change our world one child at a time. Give your area of ministry back to God and ask for His divine guidance as you build relationships with children that impact eternity.