Before we go any farther let me tell you that I know as well as you do that we turn to the Bible first. This is a no-brainer. If you don’t already know this then I would be really surprised that you were reading this blog. Now that we have that out of the way lets talk about your preparation. I don’t know what it looks like for you, so let me tell you some things I think should be done in preparation.
1. Be relevant
In working with junior high students for the past 12 years, I have come to realize that times change. We must make sure that our illustrations, stories, visuals, and even our topics are relevant to today’s junior high students.
It is easy to use illustrations about things that we connected to as children. I would love to use illustrations from one of my favorite tv shows growing up called “The Brady Bunch” (FYI…I only saw re-runs). This would be ridiculous though. My students have never even heard of the show (trust me I have asked.). I must stay up to date so that they can connect with my stories.
We all must stay up to date. Language changes. Phrases change. Life changes. Never just pull something out and go with it. This goes for any material you might purchase as well. Always make sure that any illustrations or games they offer you are up to date.
Too many times I have sat down to prepare a lesson and worked out a game and illustration for a scripture I have found and then I don’t spend much time really learning about the scripture myself. I have been the most effective when I learn something from a scripture and share that truth or lesson with my junior high students. It is personal that way.
Junior highers are very smart, and they can tell when we are really honest, open, and passionate about something. We must make sure that our lessons and words come from our heart. Make sure that you own these scriptures instead of just giving a speech.
3. Be consistent
Find a time and place to do your lesson prep each week and be consistent about it. Many times we allow our prep time to be put off due to more pressing needs, but much like our personal time with God we must make an appointment for this. Put it on your schedule and hold to it. I would suggest that it probably shouldn’t be Saturday night either.
This will allow you to make your prep time a priority. Making this time a priority will set it in your mind and heart that you must be focused. It will also tell co-workers and others around you how important this time is to you. Be prepared to put this on your calender and be as firm about it as you can. It sounds strange right now, but if you will thank yourself if you give yourself a dedicated time to do this each week.
In junior high ministry we always have to make sure we are preparing each week, but I believe if we follow these basic concepts it will help us in our preparation for communicating with students. What do you think? How do you prepare? Is your routine different? Let us know!!