It’s Sunday morning. It’s time for Bible classes to start. Yet, it can be fifteen minutes before you have even half of your students in the room. If you wait until everyone enters the classroom, you may have fifteen minutes or less of actual teaching time.
On the other hand, if you start when there are only a couple of students there, you may spend the rest of class trying to get late arrivals up-to-speed with what is happening. Valuable class time is wasted with you having to constantly repeat yourself.
Clearly neither solution is ideal. What, if anything, can you do to get your students in the room quickly? How can you arrange your class so you are using every minute wisely? There are several things you can do, but these are our favorites.
- Ask students why. Forget trial and error. Ask students who are late, why they were late. Were they using the restroom? Talking? Grabbing something to eat or drink? Knowing the issues that make your students late can make it easier to figure out what needs changing to get them in class sooner.
- Ask for Bible classes to be after worship. I have noticed this dynamic in most places. If class is first, it is easier to skip. People are more likely to stay for Bible class after worship. This decision is probably not yours to make, but asking leaders if it is an option may get them to make a change.
- Provide healthy Bible food and water (coffee for teens) for snacking. It’s amazing how many kids and teens attend church without having anything to eat or drink first. Providing enough food to raise their blood sugar without making them too full for lunch is all they need (non sugary items please!). Teens who are hanging out in the coffee area will be more likely to come to class if they know they don’t have to wait behind a lot of adults to get their coffee.
- Make class amazing. Often kids and especially teens drag into class because they aren’t looking forward to another boring lecture or coloring sheet. Knowing they may miss something exciting if they are late, will have many of them rushing to class. We aren’t talking pure entertainment, but meaningful, hands-on, interactive lessons and activities.
- Change the order in which you do things. Things like announcements, prayers, singing and more can really happen at any time during the class. Experiment with changing the order in which you do things. You may find switching things may make students show up earlier or that you aren’t repeating yourself as often.
Our kids and teens need every minutes of quality Bible class time they can get. A few minutes of extra class time can make a huge difference in the lives of some students. It’s worth taking the time to try and get as many instructional minutes as possible for every child.