10 P’s for Sunday School Teachers
Many of these tips can be adapted for use in any classroom setting.
1. PRAY. Don’t leave God out of the classroom. He is your first priority. If you enter into your responsibilities as a teacher without asking for God’s blessing, His anointing, and His power, you’re cheating yourself AND the children you’ve been entrusted with.
2. PREPARE YOUR HEART. Fill your heart with goodness and love. Use care not to ever allow bitterness or unforgiveness to cloud your heart with darkness. Ask God to help you love each of your students unconditionally, just as He loves you. “Create in me a clean (pure) heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” – Psalms 51:10.
3. PUT ON A SMILE & HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. “A happy heart makes the face cheerful” – Proverbs 15:13. Nobody wants to be around a sourpuss. Look at the good in life. You are a minister of the “good news”. If you can’t smile, will the children associate their time in your class with “good news”? They will be anxious to leave, and they’ll associate “pain and grimacing” with anything you’ve tried to teach them. Which brings me to my next point…
4. PARK YOUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS AT HOME. Children’s ministry is not an appropriate place for you to bring your personal problems. You may have a wonderful relationship with your team teacher, but it is using extremely poor judgment and timing if you chose this time to share about your personal life. You are there to teach the children – not have a counseling session with another teacher. Personal problems distract from teaching time – don’t do it!
5. PLAN YOUR ACTIVITIES. Know what you are going to do. Be ready before your class begins to arrive. When you have plenty of things planned that are age appropriate, you will maintain order in your classroom. If you don’t make a plan, the children will! “God is not a God of disorder but of peace” – I Corinthians 14:33.
6. PARTNER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit will help you teach. He will help you be creative. He will give you the discernment you need to reach that challenging child. He will give you answers to the questions children will ask, and help you teach to all learning styles.
7. PICTURE GOOD BEHAVIOR. About 99% of the time, we get what we expect. I wonder if our faith is linked to our expectations. Faith comes from hearing. Which leads us to the next step…
8. PRAISE THE CHILDREN. Openly, outwardly praise the children in your care. Praise them with your smile, with your attitude, with your kind words. Praise doesn’t just mean compliments – it is the way you interact with the children. Webster’s #1 definition of praise is to “Express favorable judgment”. Hear yourself praising the children – it will build your faith to have even a higher expectation for their behavior, and the success of your class time.
9. PROTECT THEIR SELF-ESTEEM. Don’t be critical. Don’t talk bad about them to others. In Ephesians 6, the Bible warns fathers not to exasperate their children. That is a good lesson for us. We are here to build children up in their faith. We want them to WANT to know the Lord. You – the teacher – are their link to the Lord. The way you treat them, is the way they will associate their feelings about the Lord. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t discipline – but do it in love, not anger. You must have the temperament it takes to respond to children – not react. Don’t punish – redirect.
10. POINT THE KIDS TO JESUS. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to tell a child about Jesus. I’m not talking about a history lesson. I’m not talking about a mere Bible story. I’m talking about being the witness we’re commanded to be in scripture, by allowing your students to see Christ living in YOU in both thought, word and deed!