Taking time to prepare

Abraham Lincoln was supposed to have said something like:

If you gave me six hours to cut down a tree I’d spend four hours sharpening the axe.

In other words, he planned to take twice as long preparing for a task than actually doing it. So, what constitutes preparation for a Bible lesson or task in a class or meeting?

  • Gathering together all equipment – visual aids, demonstration items, snacks, whatever you are going to need to fulfil your responsibility. If your memory is as bad as mine ;) make a list and check it off physically as each item is bagged and taken to your transport.
  • Becoming thoroughly familiar with what you will be doing – how you will teach the lesson, how the skit will run, or the sketch-board item, how the song visuals and actions will work, etc.
    I find it very helpful to “run a video” through my mind of how the meeting/class will progress. Ever seen the downhill ski competitions? The cameras often pick up an athlete waiting for his or her start, eyes closed, hand in front of them dipping and swooping, bending and stretching, as they replicate in their mind the run they are about to do, with all its turns, dips and leaps.
    By “running the video” of your club meeting ahead of time, you may realize that you have not planned for an important element. You might, for example, imagine yourselve organizing the pre-schoolers hand painting project. Then, as you “fast-forward” to the end of that session, you realize you have not planned a vital ingredient… and you would really regret it if you didn’t take the wet-wipes and paper towels for use after the hand-painting!
  • Relying on Christ  – At the end of the day, all your planning, list-making and forward thinking will be of little value if God is not in what you do.
    I realized at one point in my ministry that I was, in reality, relying on my familiarity with the lessons and visuals, human personality and even past spiritual successes. But “without Christ we can do nothing”. Breakthrough in kids’ understanding of spiritual matters can come only as the Holy Spirit does his work. I need to always rely on Christ to anoint me, flow through me and open young eyes and hearts to Bible truth. And that is essential preparation.
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