When you work in children’s ministry long enough, you’ll realize why some animals eat their young! (Polar bears, burying beetles, hamsters, wolf spiders and a range of fish species all do, in case you’re wondering.)
Kids can give you a “run for your money” in the classroom. If you’re not prepared to present an excellent, captivating message, kids will set the agenda for you. Believing that the principles from God’s Word that you’ve prepared are vital to their lives today…and in the future…is paramount…and therefore worthy of your investment of time and energy to gain and hold their attention. Rather than feeling hopeless and helpless in a room full of children….
You Can Captivate Your Audience While Teaching God’s Word!
A. Use Simple Rules in the Classroom— “What TO Do” …rather than “What NOT To Do!” “Sit up straight and tall, feet on the floor, everyone looking at me” as opposed to “no talking, no running around the room, no hitting, no pinching, no fighting, no kicking, no pulling hair, no chewing gum, etc)
B. Respect Attention Spans! (A great “rule of thumb” is one minute for every year of age.) Aim for the middle when teaching mixed age groups. Of course your overall ministry time will be longer, but you can break up your teaching into “segments.”
C. Feed Kids Spiritually. John 21:15
- Feed as opposed to “babysit.”
- FEED means to nourish (Vines), to provide food (as a herdsmen leads his flock to green pasture). Many foods don’t really provide nourishment. There are pastures that aren’t “green.”
- We have a huge responsibility to the children God gives us each week.
- “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matt. 10:42
- Honestly, that’s why we began writing our own curriculum. We wanted to give children the best we could give them!
- Children that are “nourished” are generally calmer.
D. Have Fun While You Are Teaching!
- If you’re not having fun, the kids are not having fun either! People retain much more information for longer periods of time when they laughed while they learned!
- That’s why we do dramas–keeping it fun as we teach kids the Word of God.
- Music helps set the mood and captivate the audience’s attention.
- Don’t just teach. Look for objects you can use to illustrate your point or at least give kids something to look at. (Rob God, etc.)
- Loaves and fish– you can pass out pieces of bread while you tell the story of the food multiplying, or just hold up a rubber fish and a loaf of bread.
G. Costumes & Unfamiliar Characters.
- Use costumes and people that the kids don’t know. (Have an unknown person “rob God” and then have a security officer enter announcing that he’s looking for a man that just stole the adult offering.)
H. Quiet seat prizes.
- You can use many small prizes throughout class time and/or you can save “a grand prize” for the end of class… Just make sure you don’t give everything away too early in the service because once you’ve given the big prize away, it’s over in the kid’s minds, regarding behavior!