One cannot over-emphasize the eternal impact and importance of your weekly investment into the lives of the children God has entrusted to you. It is during these formative years that children make decisions that will shape the direction of the rest of their lives. They need your best!
Too often we compare ourselves to others and wish we were better – or get discouraged by what we can’t do. God makes no such comparisons. He asks only that we do our best and be our best. I call it bringing our A-Game each and every week, regardless of ministry size, number of kids, or what challenges we face. God sees that dedication and faithfulness and I believe He honors and rewards it with results in changed lives.
Here is a checklist to help you bring your A-Game to your classroom!
Appearance. First impressions make an impact! What do kids think when they see you? From our outfit to our smile – we need to be attractive to kids. Fun hats, playful jewelry, costumes, and most of all, a big smile will communicate to kids instantly that they are going to enjoy learning from you. If you look like you rolled out of bed, are wearing work clothes, or dressed in the dark, what does that say to your audience? A little extra thought on your outfit goes a long way. Your appearance not only communicates your level of commitment to the kids, but to parents and leadership, too.
Aptitude. Dedicated teachers determine they are going to give their best to their students. This isn’t about being THE best but being YOUR best. You’ve prepared your lesson well, practiced anything you need to do in front of the kids, you’ve studied the Scripture passage and allowed it to impact your life before you attempt to help someone else with it. You don’t wing it – you crush it! You know the material. You don’t stand there holding a piece of paper; you aren’t reading from a leader’s guide. You ARE the leader’s guide – you are the leader guiding the children and it comes from your heart, not a piece of paper or booklet. Own it!
Attitude. I love the saying, “You are either a thermometer or a thermostat.” One reflects the temperature of the room, while the other sets it. Your attitude is powerful! When you are excited and eager to enjoy the Sunday experience, your students (and other leaders) will be too! Celebrate every child who enters the room. Have fun and be full of energy and excitement. All week long, kids will look forward to being with you. Decide that YOU will set the level of enthusiasm for the room, and you will!
Awareness. This may be the most important. You can look fun, be a super teacher and be bursting with excitement, but you must always be careful to have a keen eye for kids who are hurting. Our job isn’t merely to teach, but to minister. Watch for kids that are quiet, keep to themselves, or appear sad. Get down on their eye level and find out what’s going on. I like to ask a safe question such as, “Were you up too late last night? You don’t seem yourself.” Kids may share what’s going on or just hint at what’s bothering them. Express love, concern and perhaps pray a quick prayer for them right then and there. The fact that you noticed will mean the world to them. If you are the main leader, you can send another leader over who can give them some extra attention and love.
You don’t stand there holding a piece of paper, you aren’t reading from a leader’s guide. You ARE the leader’s guide – you are the leader guiding the children and it comes from your heart, not a piece of paper or booklet. Own it!