“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 NIV)
Timing is everything for teachers & Students! I have heard pastors complain about teachers who are not on time for Sunday School. Actually I have witnessed it for myself. As an Associate Pastor years ago, I would visit every class before the actual time to start Sunday School. A few minutes before class was to start, I was surprised one morning to see that the youth teacher was not in the room. The room was dark (the lights had not been turned on) and the only one in the class was a visitor! What did we say to that visitor? YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT! Teachers should be there fifteen minutes before the time to start.
Teachers, the first lesson is to recognize you need to be fifteen minutes early to greet people and be ready to teach. The kingdom of God may start fifteen minutes before the class. A visitor may have questions about God, life and church, and you need to be the presence of God at that moment. If there is an emergency, the teacher should have a greeter that they contact to be there early.
Timing is everything for students! I have heard many teachers complain that the students are coming in fifteen minutes late. Teachers are waiting for the students to arrive, and only have twenty minutes to teach. Transformation cannot happen in twenty minutes. Here are a few options to encourage people to be on time:
Have a breakfast & fellowship time before the class starts. Classes that provide breakfast see a dramatic change when people arrive. At my last church we had a breakfast hosted by different members each week (at another church, it was a different class each week.) We discovered that some families had been late because they were preparing breakfast. People arrived early to see what breakfast items would be there, and to enjoy catching up from their week.
Provide transportation. As a teenager (with a dad who was not a Christian), I would have to walk to church on occasion over a mile. Naturally it was difficult to be on time. Teachers need to be sensitive to children and teens that do not have a ride. Have a transportation committee to provide rides for children, teens and senior adults who do not drive.
Have a great teaser at the beginning of the lesson. Have an object lesson, great questions or a dramatic monologue. Once the word gets out about how great the opening is, people will want to arrive early and see what the fuss is about!
Recognize some will be habitual latecomers. Some enjoy being late and want the attention. Go ahead without them. They need to recognize that the class does not revolve around them. It is better to see transformation/kingdom moments for the ones who are there than to wait.