It’s the time of year when you and your few have settled into a rhythm.
As an SGL, you’ve figured out how much time to invest each week to prepare to teach your few.
You’ve learned how to transition your kids from one segment of the service to the next without losing their attention…much.
You’ve even discovered ways to make an activity fun but not crazy.
But whether you’ve been an SGL for 1 week or 1 year, we all discover even the best laid plans will go awry when kids are involved. Sometimes the activities you lead with your few simply don’t go as you predict. So, how do you prepare for the unpredictability?
Here are a few ideas to help you manage your time and help you land on your feet every time.
Did someone hit the pause button?
You thought your activities would consume all 30 minutes but they only took 20. You’ve got 10 more precious, potentially chaotic minutes stretched out before you like the final mile in a marathon. The question of whether or not you CAN do it is irrelevant. You have to find something to do.
Stretching time to keep your few engaged can feel like catching flies with chop sticks. Not impossible, but let’s be real. You can be prepared for those moments by having a contingency plan. Consider these:
Do you have an ‘ice breaker’ game for the beginning of your service? Pull those out again and re-engage your few. You’ll find that kids don’t mind jumping into an already familiar activity.
If your teaching content doesn’t include a scripture memory activity, brainstorm with other SGLs to create one. Have that in your back pocket ready to pull out when you need it most. Make sure they are simple, fun and can fit with any scripture.
For younger elementary, grab extra paper and crayons and ask kids to draw what they learned. Sharing thoughts through drawing is a great developmental way to increase comprehension.
For older elementary, teach them how to pray. If you’ve got an extra 10 minutes on your hands, talk to your few about how they can incorporate a pattern to their prayer and talk to God in a more focused way. Share about ways you invite God’s direction into your own life.
The Clock is Ticking!
Some activities take WAY more time than expected and you’ll find you can’t get all of it done in the time you have! You have a choice. You could militantly rush your few through every activity and check them off the list. You may be out of breath by the time you’re done, and the kids may be a little windblown from the fast pace… but at least you got it all done.
OR you could try something different. Rather than doing all the activities quickly, you could choose to do a few activities deeply. When you find you have to make that decision… the critical choice between one activity or the other… always default to the one that will deepen the connection between you and your few.
It’s okay to sacrifice an activity in order to ensure your few walk away with a deeper understanding of how much God loves them.
As an SGL, you have a lot to manage in a small amount of time. But don’t lose sight of this reality. It’s not the bible story you want them to learn. It’s the God whom the bible story amplifies that you want them to know. And it’s your smile, your words, and your presence that communicate that Truth more than the best activity possibly could.