TEACHING CALENDAR PLANNING:
I do not have lesson prep or the planning of a series down to a science. A lesson or series often bubbles up from my time in God’s word, from something I am reading, conversations with students, comments from staff, etc. Our youth staff take time in the summer to map out what the year will look like but we keep that teaching calendar firmly flexible. I will stick to it unless another need pops up.
Here is an Excel spread sheet you can download and use as a template. It is pretty plain but maybe it will spark some ideas. If you don’t have Excel you can still view the file by uploading it to Google Docs or you can install the free office suite Open Office and view/edit it there.
I came across a series of posts on calendar planning from Scott Hodge, a pastor in the Chicago suburbs. I appreciate the strategy and intentionality behind these post. I hope you find them as use as I did.
Teaching Calendar Planning Part 1
Teaching Calendar Planning Part 2
Teaching Calendar Planning Part 3
A few advantages of knowing in advance your teaching calendar is you:
- have the ability to gather better illustrations.
- can pull together some students and staff and form a “Creative Team” to work on series elements weeks out (drama, video clips, music, etc).
- can find guest teachers well in advance (this helps me plan vacation time away too).
- are better prepared to inform parents and staff about upcoming topics.
- feel better being prepared.
If I don’t plan time to plan, it just won’t happen. Schedule time away…a day or a weekend. Create space to pray, reflect on your group, and your group’s needs. Come back tomorrow to pick up some lesson prep tips, insight, and ideas.
PLAN IN ACTION: Here is the arc of our current series “re:” put together by my wife Keri.
Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Week 1 RE:STORE (Series Title)
-This would be an intro to the series. We started out perfect in the garden, but are now fallen. Although we will never get back to that perfect state this side of heaven, God in his grace allows us to start over again and again. There is a process modeled throughout the Old Testament (including Ezra and Nehemiah) of how we can restore our lives and our hearts when we have fallen away from God.
Week 2 Re:Vive CONFESSION
-Vive means life. When we are living with sin in our lives it leaves us feeling dead inside. David describes it well in the Psalm 32 as “wasting away” when we keep silent and don’t confess our sins. We are all sinners, we need to confess our sins to God. He is faithful and just to forgive our sins when we ask.
Week 3 Re:Purpose SUBMISSION
-Are we willing to let God use us in any way He sees fit? Do we trust that even now He is preparing us for good works which he has already prepared for us to do? We often feel the desire to make a name for ourselves or manipulate circumstances to go our way. We need to rest in knowing that God has a purpose and plan for us and that every detail of our life will be used for His glory if we allow Him full control.
Week 4 Re:Group SEPARATION
-Regroup is defined as being reorganized to make a fresh start. When we have been revived through confession and repurposed through submission we need to complete the restoration process by breaking ties with the world. Are there people, place or things in your life that are influencing you away from a right relationship with the Lord? We come to God through sacrifice, but we walk with God through separation.