#24 – Always Be a Source of Encouragement (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 will be the first one to tell you that I don’t buy into the whole “every kids is the same / equal results / everyone gets a trophy” mentality that is so prevalent in our society today. Every kid is different and each is better at certain things than other kids. That is the way God made them, and we should rejoice in that. That said, Children’s Ministry should be a place where every child feels encouraged. Every child should leave your classroom feeling like they are of the utmost importance to you and to your ministry, because they are each vitally important to God.
When you ask questions, remember that even though you don’t get the answer you might have been looking for, that doesn’t make it wrong. The beauty of open-ended questions (as we discussed in the last installment) is that they don’t generally have a right answer. Encourage the kids to come up with and express their own ideas. Give them opportunities to brain storm with one another in response to questions.
Encourage their answers. When you ask a question about David and they answer something about Daniel, tell them how impressed you are that they know the story of Daniel, before you tell them that that wasn’t exactly the answer you were looking for. Encourage them to shout out answers. Help them to feel reassured enough to answer any questions without fearing that they will be made fun of or ridiculed. Remember that while we should always be willing to laugh with them, we should never laugh at them.
No matter the circumstance, we must keep God’s view of these kids in mind as we minister to them. They are his children, and like Jesus with his disciples, we must give them encouragement, show them patience and point them towards God. Our role is to encourage them on their spiritual journey and help them along the way. God forbid that we would ever discourage them on their spiritual journey with God. In the words of Jesus:
“…but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” [Matthew 18:6 ESV]