7 Tips for the Effective Children’s Bible Teacher (Tip #1)
By Beth W. Prassel
Children are often cheated when it comes to Bible study. Too often, their lessons in church consist of too much playtime, too much irrelevant discussion and not enough significant interaction with the Scripture. In my 20-plus years of experience teaching the Bible to all age groups of children and youth, I’ve found that, not only are children capable of understanding the Bible (sometimes on a deeper level than we want to admit), but most of them also want to understand it. It’s our responsibility as parents and teachers to guide them into that understanding.
Teaching the Bible effectively takes consistent work. We cannot achieve it with lackluster presentation or without offering students opportunities to interact with the Scripture. If you teach the Bible to kids, or even if you’re just thinking about it, perhaps you’ll find the following tips helpful.
- First and foremost, be prepared. If you have any Bible teaching experience at all, you know how important preparation is. And yet you’d be surprised at how many Bible teachers go into the classroom with minimal preparation. Maybe you’ve even been guilty of it yourself. I attended a Sunday school teachers’ seminar where the leader asked for a show of hands indicating the amount of time spent in preparation. Believe it or not, most of the participants admitted to spending one hour or less in preparation time, with half of those admitting to only 30 minutes or less. I’ve also seen well-meaning teachers in action, who think they are doing a good job by showing a Christian video or by having a party during the Sunday school hour. These activities have a place, but I believe that the time designated for Bible study should never be replaced by anything less. When I see a teacher substituting other activities for real Bible study, I see a teacher who did not feel like preparing a lesson.
Young people often come to class with difficult questions. If you, the teacher, aren’t prepared, you can easily be caught off guard. A well-prepared teacher, however, will at least be able to guide the student in the right direction, even if he, himself, isn’t able to answer the question fully.
Let me be blunt: if you are not willing to prepare properly, then you shouldn’t be teaching a class. All Bible teachers should take their responsibility seriously. (See James 3:1.)
Just because you can wing it by reading aloud a Bible story and playing a few games, doesn’t mean you should wing it. Be as prepared as you can be—always. The young people in your class need and want to learn more. Don’t cheat them.
Stayed tuned for tips 2 – 7!