Teenagers live in the fast lane--and while Sunday School should provide help and relief from the stressful pace, it should not be the slowest hour of a student's week. When it's over, they should feel that it was time well spent. It will be if you as a leader manage the lesson time effectively.
Refer to the preparation and session planning pages at the back of the teacher guide, thinking through the timing of all aspects of the lesson, including discussion and activities. Plan to use about 80% the class period for all elements, including the preliminaries. Arrive early to set up, greet and facilitate fellowship among students. Have a definite and consistent start time.
Don't Use It All
Narrow the lesson content and choose from the suggested activities only those that fit your students. Don't try to accomplish too much in one session. Provide ample social time prior to class and don't carry over except to welcome guests or ask general questions about the student's week.
The preliminaries--including refreshments, welcome, announcements and opening prayer should use up no more than ten minutes, unless you have a particularly creative and captivating means of delivering vital news. Don't feel unspiritual for keeping opening prayer request time brief--providing for sufficient ministry time at the end of class. Also, do not personally take all of class time. Portions should be filled with creative media, student assisted presentations, activities and ministry opportunities.
Keep It Moving
Class time should contain a variety of presentational, illustrative and interactive elements with no significant "dead space." Segments should last no more than 7-8 minutes without variance. Let the change of pace have an unhurried, "relaxed intensity." Unexpected distractions or disciplinary problems need not disrupt the flow if dealt with swiftly and directly. Stay in control, allowing "rabbit trail" discussions only if issues are of relevant interest to the whole class. Always get back on track, unless the Holy Spirit Himself suspends the course.
Make The Point
Keep your objective for one class session simple and practical. Focus on fewer points with student interactivity to reinforce them. Ask yourself, and students, "What should we do as a result of learning this truth?" At all costs, make sure to reserve enough time at the conclusion to discuss and plan for real life application of the truth.
If the time is well spent, opportunity will be available for personal ministry and prayer, including an invitation for students to receive Christ. If you manage the lesson effectively, learning will extend well beyond the Sunday session.
Written by Carey Huffman
Copyright Gospel Publishing House. All rights reserved. Used with permission.