“These kids are hyper today!” Liz blared as she brought her boys class down from Sunday school to children’s worship. This was the third time Liz had said something about her class being rowdy, so I followed her and started small talk about her morning. I was looking for insight as to why the class was so “hyper.” Her family had a good morning (that wasn’t it). She arrived on time (no problem there). There were no fights in class (that’s not it). Nobody was defiant (hmmm . . . not it).
Everything seemed in order except the classroom itself—which was in complete disarray. I offered to help her clean the class so she could get to service faster. “Liz, you could have the boys help you pick up before bringing them down to children’s worship.”
“Oh, I don’t mind! Besides, it takes so long getting to the lesson that I hate to keep them longer to straighten up.” She quickly put the table games away. “It seems like they play longer every Sunday. This morning, after I finished looking over my lesson and getting all of the stuff together (there it was!), I had to make them quit in the middle of a game! I hated to do it, but, like I told them, ‘Jesus is first!’ ” I laughed and nodded in agreement, then made a mental note to encourage her . . . to prepare beforehand.
Liz was a competent and creative teacher, yet not preparing for class until she arrived in class was creating struggles. The children were allowed to play while she got the lesson details figured out and arranged the space. The rowdiness was not due to behavioral management, it was a pre-planning issue! Proverbs 24:27 reminds us, “Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house”(NLT).
I sent Liz a text on Monday: “Praying for you as you look over your lesson today.” She quickly responded with “Thank you! I might just take a minute to do that! Lol!” On Wednesday I emailed, informing her that the class was available after service that night if she wanted to set it up. She didn’t reply but did pop out of her classroom after church that night to say hello. The encouragement was working! On Friday I called to see if she needed anything—“yes, pipe cleaners.” We didn’t have any, but she joyfully replied, “No problem, I’ll pick some up when I’m grocery shopping tomorrow!”
The following Sunday when Liz brought her class down, she was bragging on what a great group of boys she had! She was able to use the entire time teaching, and both she and the boys were pleased. Prior preparation had been made and proper ministry had occurred. Liz even made it into the sanctuary before the music started! Lesson learned!
Preparation smoothes the way for ministry.