#27 – Love Them Like Jesus (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.
It is a well known refrain from a well know Children’s song:
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
The song is the well known song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” Along with “Jesus Loves Me” it is arguably the most well known children’s songs of all time. It also reflects a fundamental truth about the God that we serve – he loves children. That love is evident throughout the Bible including verses like Mark 10:13-16:
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. [Mark 10:13-16 ESV]
All of scripture seems to indicate that God has a special affection for children. The Bible tells us that God is love:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. [1 John 4:16]
And God commands us to love one another:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. [John 15:12]
That command is especially important in the context of Children’s Ministry. Children’s Ministry is all about connection. In fact, at our church, the Children’s Ministry is actually called “Kids Connection.” Our goal is to build the children’s relationship with God. One of the ways we accomplish this is by building connections between the leaders and the kids in our ministry. The only way to achieve such lasting relationship with kids is to pour into their lives and to love them. When we work with kids, we must always reflect the light and the love of Jesus. Love is a critical ingredient in Children’s Ministry. If you don’t have a love for children both in general and specifically for the kids in your ministry, you will never be able to express God’s love to them.
We must find ways to love the kids in our ministry the same way the Jesus loves us. So, what form does this love take? In the context of large group presentations, it means that you invest in the kids in your ministry by investing time and resources into teaching them about God. It means that you show them you value them by including them in your weekly lesson, answering their questions and never talking down to them. It means going out of your way to connect with them and to talk to them and to minister to them. It means getting them involved and treating them as God’s special children.
No matter how relevant…no matter how exciting…no matter how deep…no matter how much fun your children’s ministry is, the key ingredient in successful children’s ministry is love. It is more likely to bring kids back to your ministry week after week than virtually anything else you might try. A famous quote from one of my favorite movies of all time is “…if you build it, he will come.” (often misquoted as “If you build it, they will come,”) If you build a children’s ministry where kids feel and experience the love of God, they will come!