Don’t do this when you teach Sunday School…

This past Sunday I taught on Simeon and Anna meeting Jesus in the temple.

And afterwards I felt like the lesson totally flopped.


As I finished up the lesson I realized that I was still trying to figure out exactly how to explain the idea of the lesson while I was teaching. I was trying to relate Simeon’s faith to the faith we can have in Jesus, but the way I was describing it was just “flat”. Needless to say, it wasn’t my best.

Not only that, but the lesson needed more work. As much as I had worked on it , it still wasn’t ‘tight’ and ‘precise’. It was more of a blob of disconnected information. I’m surprised anyone listened to it…frankly.

I never want that to walk away from Sunday School feeling the way I did Sunday. So I’m purposing to do a few things different from now on.

1. I’m going to rehearse, out loud, before Sunday.

This one is painful. Not because I’m shy or anything, but because it’s uncomfortable. When you practice, out loud, by yourself, you passionately talk… to nobody.

And that is very difficult. (I mean, have you ever tried talking with all your enthusiasm to an empty room?)

When I talk I get energy from the people in the room, and that energy naturally gets infused into the lesson. It just happens, I don’t have to try.

So the idea of practicing in front of nobody, when there is nobody in the room to draw energy from…well that’s not cool!


But here is the beautiful part…if I practice, I have a chance to hear myself go through the entire lesson, as if I were teaching it Sunday morning. And by the time I actually go on stage to teach the lesson, I’ve been through the whole thing before. The ‘dry run’ in front of nobody gives me a chance to refine the words I use and the way I communicate before I actually teach. This practicing before hand basically guarantees my lesson will be better than it would have otherwise been.

And I think my Sunday School class, and God, deserve better than my first attempt at teaching the lesson.

2. I’m not going to be satisfied until I can clearly explain the tension in the story

Every story has a point of tension.

And that tension makes the story interesting to listen to.

This past Sunday, it was Simeon’s LONG wait to see the promised child, Jesus.

[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”]tension makes the story interesting to listen to[/pullquote]

The problem was, even though I knew that tension I never felt like I explained it well. I described it, yes, but I could tell on the kids’ faces that no one was really with me. No one in that room felt the tension I was trying to explain.

They were all looking at me like, “Uhh…ok. So what’s next?”

I love captivating kids with the truth and stories in God’s Word. It is one of my favorite things to do.

But some days, like yesterday, I didn’t have that key part of the story right. I didn’t clearly explain the tension Simeon felt while waiting for Jesus. So when I got to the ‘punch line’ of the story, where Simeon meets Jesus, the kids could have cared less.

3. I relied on the object lesson too much

So I’m telling the story and explaining the prophecies Simeon might have read in the Old Testament. As I’m talking I’m realizing the kids aren’t fascinated, to say the least.

And I guess if I think about it, I knew this was coming. As much information and research as I had done, I should have done more. The story was flat. The right information wasn’t there.


So I bailed on the story, and raced to the object lesson. Mentally I was like “OK…get through this story and you’ll get everyone’s attention back with the object lesson”

So that’s what I did, I told the story, as bad as it was, and then raced on to the object lesson.


I can do better than that. The story should be just as good as the object lesson.

Don’t be like me and rely on your object lesson to keep everyone’s attention. If your story didn’t earn their attention a cheap ‘object lesson’ trick is a poor way to get it back.


Perhaps this blog post was more of a therapy session than it was a lesson or method for teaching kids the Bible. Regardless, learn from my mistakes and be the very best teacher you can be!

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