I showed up to church early last Sunday. I was called late Saturday night to fill in for the scheduled Kids Church teacher. I had not been in front of a group of kids for over one year. I was thrilled to receive the call. Of course, I said yes.
I met with the children’s directors. They trained me on how to use the curriculum, and instructed me concerning the normal procedures for the morning. While they set up the laptop in order to play the video curriculum, a brother (10 yrs) and sister (9 yrs) arrived early for their Sunday school class which occurs in the same room. The two kids quietly sat down. I looked away from the computer to observe the children. With their teacher not yet present, my reponsibilities were clear.
I grabbed a balloon from my right front pocket, invited them to stand up to play a game with me, and then made a big show out of inflating the balloon. Yes, they laughed. And then we spent the next ten minutes bouncing the balloon to each other. Our rules were simple. We each could only hit it once at a time and we could not let it fall to the ground. The key is communication and teamwork. They loved the game, having played similar ones in the past. Indeed, they invited other children to play when they began to arrive.
It was a prelude to their kids church lesson later in the morning concerning the Israelites who needed to trust God and each other as they marched around Jericho. Although I intended to use the game later for that purpose, my plans were adjusted according to the needs of two children at risk of becoming bored.
After all, class starts when the first child arrives.