#18 – Keep It Simple (Tips For Large Group Teaching)
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.
I remember in school when I was first introduced to the concept of K.I.S.S. – “Keep It Simple Stupid” in my Middle School English class. Of course, at that age we were most shocked that our teacher would use the word “stupid” (those were different times). As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize the importance of this simple acronym. So much in life runs smoother and easier when we work at keeping things simple.
The same concept holds true in Children’s Ministry. We must strive to simplify complex concepts to a level where they can be conveyed to children. Additionally we must strive to keep the presentation of those concepts simple as well. In terms of keeping this sime, I find that I run into two different obstacles. The first is trying to do too much. I am an enthusiast when it comes to teaching kids about Jesus and about their Bibles. There is so much to be mined and taught from the Word of God that I find it easy to slip into a pattern of trying to cover too much in my lessons. When you try to pack too much information into a very limited amount of time, you end up muddling the whole lesson. Especially when teaching children, it is important to learn to focus on the most important things and stay on track. I would much rather have the kids walk away on Sunday with a deeper understanding of God’s love for them than to know a little bit about minor things in that’s week’s lesson. The old adage that less is more holds true, and must constantly remind myself of that when preparing my lessons.
The second snag it terms of keeping it simple comes with all the bells and whistles that are available to us in terms of presentation. I am a bit of a technology geek. I like all the new toys, and I like to incorporate new things into the teaching to keep the kids interest. I like video and music and sound effects and all kinds of other things. While I don’t think it is bad to work new technology into your teaching, I do think it’s important to do all things in moderation. My experience has been that the more I try to do, the higher the possibility that something can go wrong and throw the whole lesson off track. I try to limit myself in terms of “elements” that I work into any one teaching. Much like overloading your lessons with themes and stories, it is quite easy to overload it with technology. This is another temptation that must be avoided. As cool as something might seem in theory, it is important to remember that it is less important than a child’s relationship with Jesus. Don’t let all the bells and whistles obscure the true lesson that you are trying to teach.
So, when it comes to Children’s Ministry and planning your lessons, remember the simple lesson of K.I.S.S. – KEEP IT SIMPLE. Complex is not always better!