#16 – Teach From the Book (Tips For Large Group Teaching)

Wayne —  February 5, 2010 — 5 Comments

Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.

The Bible is the power of God (Romans 1:16).  It is perfect (Psalm 19:7), pure (Psalm 19:8) and truthful (John 17:17).  It is useful for teaching, reproof, correction and training (2 Timothy 3:16).  It sanctifies (1 Timothy 4:5), strengthens (Job 4:4), restores (Psalm 19:7), enlightens (Psalm 19:8) and gives light (Psalm 119:30).  In the fall of 2008, I compiled a list of the characteristics of the Bible called simply, God’s Word…

Despite these truths about the Word of God, many of those who work in Children’s Ministry neglect the Word of God in their teaching.  Perhaps it is because we don’t feel like the kids we teach are really old enough to understand it, or maybe it’s because it’s easier to talk about behavior and values, but it is critical that we not neglect or minimize the Word of God in talking to kids.

The Bible is fundamental to our own spiritual journey and our relationship with Christ, and it is equally important to the kids we teach.  Part of our job in Children’s Ministry is to impart an excitement for, and appreciation of, the Word of God.  So how do we do this?  How do we effectively use the Bible to teach kids?  Let face it – expository teaching is not the norm when it comes to five and six year olds.  There are some things we can do though to impress the importance of the Bible on their young minds.  Make sure that your lesson incorporates scripture and stories from the Bible, and make sure your kids understand that what you are teaching them comes directly from the Bible.  Tell them about all the exciting things they can find in their Bible.  Show them how to use their Bibles and encourage them to memorize scripture.

When you’re telling a story from the Bible, make sure you are holding it open in front of you.  This is an effective visual reminder for them that what we are teaching comes directly from God’s word.  Teach them the truths that the Bible reveals about itself and how it is applicable to their lives.  Explain to them that the Bible is a sword with which to battle temptation and the enemy.  Remind them that the Bible is a letter to them from God.  Help them to visualize the Bible as a light that reveals the will of God.

Furthermore, let the kids in your class see how excited you are about the Bible.  Let your enthusiasm for the Word of God be contagious.  Talk to them about what you’ve been reading and what you’ve learned from the Bible.  Talk about how the Bible has changed your life.  Answer their questions with reference to the Scriptures.

Most importantly, tell the kids in your ministry about Jesus.  Impress on them that we do not worship the Bible, we worship the person that the Bible tells us about.  Show them how every story in the Bible points to, is about, or emanates from Jesus.  Explain to them that in order to get to know God better they have to read their Bibles.  Help them to see that the Bible is the single most important book they will ever read.

Return to the Tips for Large Group Teaching in Children’s Ministry index page.

m4s0n501

5 responses to #16 – Teach From the Book (Tips For Large Group Teaching)

  1. Wayne, I have enjoyed reading through this series and found it very practical. many of the tips are right oin the button for any size group. Thanks for taking the time to put all this together.
    Could you tell me please, what size is the "large group" you have in mind, and what size is the small group?
    What is the difference in the activities you have for each of these groups? Am I right in thinking that all your kids meet together first and then break up into small groups?

    • Lin,

      Thank you for your kind words. I actually work with two different types of large groups. On Wednesday nights I run games for our Awana clubs. We have three different sets of groups (based on age), and they range from probably 50-70 kids depending on the group and the week.

      On Sunday mornings, I teach in the kindergarten-1st grade room. Our structure is as follows:

      First, the kids meet in small groups for a short introductory type activity. Sometimes, we do a large group game instead of the small groups to get the class started. This generally depends upon the lesson and the availability of small group leaders. When I talk about small groups, ours tend to be around 8 kids, though I would like to see them smaller. I think 5-6 kids per leaders is probably optimum.

      Following small groups, all the kids get togther for our large group setting. We do worship, announcements and the lesson for that weekend which I generally present. In the classroom I lead, we average around 30 kids or so. That said, I think many of the entries in this series can be applied to much larger groups. Many of the types of activities I incorporate into large groups will show up here soon in this series. For the first part of the series, I have focused principally on big picture ideas such as preparation, prayer, etc. Many of the upcoming entries include more practical tips about things that people can do to "mix up" the large group teaching to keep things fresh and engaging. Right now I think I am at 42 total entries, but will see if that expands or contracts as the series continues.

      Finally, after the large group time, the kids are sent back to their small groups for activities and hopefully more one-on-one conversations regarding the lesson. The activities in small group might include crafts, answering questions about the lesson, sharing personal stories and helping the kids apply the lesson to their individual circumstances. For example, when we talk about sharing the gospel, one of the things the kids might do in small group is draw a picture of one person they want to share the Good News with that week. In short, one of the goals of small group is to take the large group lesson and really individualize it for the kids. Small groups are also intended to allow the kids to form a deeper relationship with their leaders (though we sometimes have a problem with this because of the lack of consistent volunteers)..

      I used to do small groups, and still get to from time-to-time, which I absolutely loved. I enjoyed the opportunity to really connect with the kids on an individual level and learn what was going on in their lives. When I took over the large group portion, I was a little hesitant to give up that small group connection, but I have enjoyed finding ways to connect in the lager group setting.

  2. That seems a brilliant way to gather the focus (small group) then teach the lesson (large group) then apply the lesson individually (small group). Great process. You must be blessed to have a good number of helpers.
    Wayne, how long would each session last for?

    • The intro section of our time is about 7-10 minutes. The large group usually runs about 50 minutes including worship and announcements. The actual teaching time is roughly 30 minutes of the total. Then we have another 20-30 minutes (depending on the length of the service) for small groups. We do have great volunteers, though I wish we had more. With more, and more consistent, volunteers we could decrease the size of each small group (we usually run around 8-10 now, and I would like to see that at 5-6 at the most) and we could be more consistent in giving kids the same leader each week. I think this is essential to building lasting relationships.

  3. How long do you have for each session, Wayne (ie small#1 – large and small #2)?
    It sis a great way to personalize the teaching with the individual kids.

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