It’s a little quiet at the church right now; during the first weeks of August, most everyone squeezes in a last bit of vacation before school starts. It’s my favorite time!
I feel really close to God in the quiet of the church halls. The solitude puts me in a prayerful frame of mind.
I find that my planning is more effective—not because I get the most done, but because I get the best chance to refocus on what God wants me to do!
During this time, I accomplish these simple goals that set the stage for our Fall Sunday School program.
I hope you find these as helpful as I do!
1. Praise God Daily and Read Your Bible.
Take time to write out a “praise list!”
When we praise God, it opens up our communication line with Him. And when we then open His Word, it completes the communication circle.
But don’t just read to cross it off your “to do” list—get to the meaning and let God’s Spirit speak to you through it.
Better to read a few verses and gain something than to read a long passage that doesn’t sink in. And when you miss a day (or five, and you will), don’t beat yourself up over it. Keep going!
2. Play “Creative Genius for a Day.”
Creativity is often opened up by random things. So go to a place that has nothing to do with your ministry—a bench at the mall, a sidewalk cafe downtown, or (my favorite) Coffee Bean!
Invite God to work in your relaxed randomness! Draw a picture, scribble down notes, doodle.
Sit and stay. Dream and imagine until you have one new idea for your ministry.
3. Find a Mentor.
Look to change or improve one thing in your spiritual life or ministry. (Changing too many things just overwhelms us.)
Then ask someone you respect and hold in high regard to mentor you in that specific area and hold you accountable, too!
Once you begin this process yourself, find someone younger to mentor—it will keep you younger and keep you thinking about the future.
4. Organize Yourself, Your Desk and Your Workspace.
This could take an hour or an entire day, but research shows it will save you more time than it takes—even if your desk looks like mine!
Don’t forget your inbox and email files too. A clean inbox makes us all more productive. You may want to clean out those supply cabinets too (although this may be a different day—and enlist help!).
Reorganizing will give Fall a fresh-start feel!
5. Order and Organize All Your Fall Curriculum and Resources.
Be sure you have everything you need now. And then get the materials to your teachers earlier than usual.
Extra time to review materials is most important in Fall since it’s more likely you’re starting a new program or have new teachers.
6. Set Up a Training Time for Your Teachers.
Whether you are starting a new program or using the same one, plan time to meet with your teachers and discuss your (and their) vision for the Sunday School program.
No matter how good a curriculum may be, it is your staff and volunteers who make all the difference!
So have some fun together, eat something yummy, and then train them on a topic that will help both your seasoned veterans and new volunteers succeed with their kids.
Training Ideas for Volunteers
- Keep every classroom focused and engaged with these simple classroom management tips.
- Deal wisely with angry kids in the class.
- Use behavior management tools to address needs of children with varying abilities.
Build relationships and keep everyone on the same page!
7. Check Your “Passion-O-Meter.”
Take time to reflect on these questions:
- Why am I doing this?
- What things in my ministry may I be doing out of pride? Out of duty?
- Is this ministry for me, for the parents—or truly for the kids?
Ask God to help you be honest: There is nothing so bad He can’t improve it!
Whatever your answers may be, spend some serious time with Him and ask Him to refresh you and direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5–6).
8. Open Your Bible to Psalm 46:10.
Read the whole verse, not just the “be still” part.
Kids have a hard time being still, but so do we adults. Remember how many ways you are like the kids in your ministry—there are short attention spans, wiggles, and a little ADHD in all of us!
In Psalm 46:10, God reminds us that He doesn’t need us because He will be exalted in all the earth, with or without us. We are the ones with the needs!
So be still … lay your needs before Him. Ask Him for faith to trust His ability—and then watch Him provide!
These tips help me not only in my ministry but also in my work and my home life.
Some of the most helpful things are simple ones—even when they go against our usual “do more, work more” approach.
Use the quiet time of August—or any other span of time you can carve out—to refocus, listen to God, and ask Him to lead you into a new season!