As we left the penguin exhibit at the zoo, both girls were hurling complaints at me. They were riled at the presenter, who had arrived five minutes late, never acknowledged the crowd with a smile or a welcome, and then proceeded to talk in a hushed, monotone merely reciting what she had obviously recited to hordes of children before. The complaints were coming quickly, “We got there early.” “I couldn’t hear her.” “She said there were boys and girls. Which ones are the girls?”
The presenter lost an interested audience, who wanted to know all about penguins. Instead our presenter actually yawned widely during her presentation.
Leading Sunday School week after week can tempt me into boredom. Summer seems to be the time when I become automatic and routine. Lesson preparation feels like drudgery because I feel certain there is no new song, no new Bible story, no new craft or interesting game under the sun. I feel uninspired, and I feel like my well of good ideas has run dry. However, after my experience at the zoo, I realized how important it is to find the new twist, idea or concept in the Bible story so I can relate it to the children.
Having experienced first hand what it was like to have disappointed children, I want the children in my class to be inspired and engaged. To do this, I have begun asking myself, “What is new about this Bible story?” When I read the text in preparation for the lesson, I ask, “What didn’t I know or see before?” Once I have hit on the new to me idea, I get energy and enthusiasm for planning the craft and games. And better yet, I feel inspired to tell the Bible story.
Summer can feel long and dry. However when our congregants come to worship, it is our role to present the good news . . . without a monotone or a yawn. What’s new to you?
Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.