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When it comes to planning a teaching calendar, I have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other. Early in my career, the teaching topic would be chosen and the talk written the day of our meeting every week. Fast forward six years, I could tell you what I would be teaching on in June…by the end of August. Now, five years beyond that, and having worked through my OCD a bit, I’ve found myself somewhere in the middle. Here are three things I’ve learned along the way.

The Holy Spirit works the same way ahead of time.
Kurt and Josh touched on this a bit already but I think it’s worth mentioning again. The Holy Spirit doesn’t just work last minute. When we have bathed our schedule in prayer, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve planned a teaching months prior only to have it be exactly what our students needed.

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Not to mention, I’ve found it much less stressful to get an object lesson idea from the Spirit ahead of time compared to running around like crazy to pull it off the day of.

Involve your students in the planning.
Every August, we have a daylong meeting with our student leaders to put together our schedule for the year. We have a blast together praying, brainstorming, and narrowing our ideas down to fit the calendar. On top of being a great opportunity for discipleship, it also empowers the students as leaders and gets them excited about the year ahead. We also utilize this time to have students pick days for them to teach and the advance notice has helped them feel more comfortable, as well as come up with better quality talks.

Be flexible.
As you can imagine, toward the middle of my career this was an area of struggle for me. “We have to stick to the schedule, otherwise we’ll miss one person mentioned in Hebrews 11.” Which ,of course, meant that the world would end.

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Whether it was something in the news, a student leader telling me that I “missed a spot” on a certain topic, or the Holy Spirit shifting last minute, I’ve learned the value of shifting our schedule when needed. Usually I’ve found the change ended up being for the best anyway…and the world was still there by the end too.

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