Children’s Church: Do These 5 Things First

I realized a couple of weekends ago that I had stopped praying each week before kids’ service.  It wasn’t a conscience decision, just something that happened in the hustle and bustle of the weekend.  I realized that when I stopped praying that coincided with those weeks that I didn’t feel went very well after they were over.  That got me thinking about those things which really ought to be routine and done every week before children’s church or Sunday school. Here’s my list:

children's chairs

5 Tasks You Must Do Before the Kids Arrive on Sunday

  1. Pray. Pray before you plan; pray while you plan; pray when you think you’ve planned so much you couldn’t spend another second on the lesson.  Then, just before it’s go time, pray some more.  Pray that God would speak through you and to you as you teach your lesson.  Pray that kids’ ears and, more importantly, hearts would be open to his message.  Commend your lesson into His hands.  You are after all at HIS church teaching HIS kids out of HIS word about HIM.  Ignoring the power of prayer in preparing for, planning and executing your lesson is akin to ignoring a water fountain when you are stranded in the desert with nothing to drink.
  2. Prepare. This really ought to go without saying, but preparation reduces the need for last second modifications and adjustments that will surely wreak havoc on your morning.  This really isn’t a last second thing, but if you’ve prepared ahead of time, it takes a lot of stress out of the last second.  The morning of, though, make sure you have everything you need.  Take your lesson and your props with you.
  3. Re-read the lesson. Just because you prepared all week and went over the lesson Saturday night before bed, don’t let Sunday morning go by without working through it one more time.  My own personal experience is that this is a time when God often moves to let you know what he wants you to teach.  Make sure that you never let your own planning and preparation stand in the way of God doing what he wants with his kids.  Doing a last read through also helps to ensure that the lesson is fresh in your mind when it comes time to teach it.
  4. Read the Bible chapter the lesson is based on. I am not a curriculum basher.  We use it, and I am grateful for all the work that people put into coming up with it every week.  It generally requires modification, but there is a lot out there which is really really good.  Even really good curriculum will need tweaked sometimes.
  5. Go over your backup plan. What?  You don’t have a backup plan?  Seriously?  Well, more power to you, but for me not having a back up plan is a lot like going sky diving without the second emergency chute.  That first chute may open nearly every time, but I don’t want to be a couple of thousand feet up when I realize I need the second chute which I never packed.  So, make a backup plan and prepare for it just like you would you intended lesson.  Line up the supplies and the people and the electronic stuff you need.  If you do it right, the kids will not even know that you’ve deviated from your original plan and kicked in to Plan B.  I’ll never forget the time I had planned my whole lesson around a particular video that worked fine at home the night before.  When I pushed play during the class on Sunday morning – I got nothing but a frozen screen a whole slew of eyes waiting to see what I was going to do next.  Fortunately, I knew the story pretty well and was able to slip into having the kids act it out rather than use the video.  It wasn’t as seamless as I would have liked, but it was definitely better than the alternative.

What would you add?  What is part of your Sunday morning routine?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you should also check out our articles on starting a children’s church and writing a kids church lesson.


  1. says

    Eat a healthy breakfast! Who knows when you will get a chance to sit down and eat again and i don’t mean the goldfish in the nursery ;)
    It’s never a good idea to enter the classroom
    H ungry
    A ngry
    L onely or
    T ired…

  2. says

    Pray, pray, pray. Reading the Bible chapter the story is based on is very important too. Loved this post. Thanks for all your great ideas and all you do!

  3. Lynn Clough says

    On number 4 the last sentence is not complete, and I cannot figure out what you meant:
    With the good comes the bad though, and the rise of really good curriculum has come less need for…..?

  4. Majetta Morris says

    After 40+ years of children’s ministry, I totally agree with all mentioned. One thing I add are at least 2 copies of written “ORDER OF SERVICE” with projected timings, what’s happening, who is doing it, materials needed and if it is technical materials, exactly which CDs, computer folder or flashdrive w/electronic path, etc. where it can be found IN CASE of a meltdown and everything needs to be quickly reprogramed. On a table at the front of the room, I have all of my supplies in the order of planned use.
    Over the years, I have found I seldom use all the material I plan, but I keep planning in that fashion. Put the most important things first. If there is something you REALLY wanted to cover, or seemed cut short, put it at the beginning of the next week and use that as a refresh and review.
    May God richly bless all of you reaching out to our young church! (Notice, I did not say “church of tomorrow.” Without them, we would not have a church today!)

  5. Leah says

    The only additional thing that I add to your list is that I consciously pray over my physical space. I am a hand-on, visual learner and walk through my room before the kids arrive. I touch each chair and pray for the child that will fill it. As I set them out on the tables, I pray over the scissors and little hands that will hold them. I verbally invite the Holy Spirit to come and fill my space.
    And I second the need for a plan B. Sometimes it is a technology glitch but sometimes it is the Sunday that you expected a class-full of little girls and planned lots of fine motor work when you end up with a slew of rambunctious little boys and need to change to gross motor activities on the fly. It’s important to have a number of different ways to teach the same concept/lesson based on the demographic you are serving.

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