Posts Tagged "Large Group"

#48 – Use Special Demonstrations (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.

One great way to spice things up in your Children’s Ministry is to invite in guest speakers and people to do live demonstrations.  In addition to giving the kids someone other than you to listen to, it gives the kids another focal point to remember your lesson by.  If it fits with your lesson, invite someone in to talk to the kids.  If you’re talking about Noah’s Ark, invite someone from the local zoo to bring in some animals.  If you are talking about the holiness of God, invite a judge to come in to talk about the law.  If you are telling the story of Gideon, invite someone from the armed forces in to talk about their impression of Gideon’s “strategy.”  Invite your pastor to come talk to the kids.  If you’re talking about Satan as the great deceiver of the brethren, have a magician come in and do some tricks as an example of how you can make things seem completely different than they are.  The possibilities are really endless when it comes to demonstrations.

Here’s one example of how I’ve personally used this technique.  When we were talking about spiritual disciplines, I had my eight-year-old come in and do a karate demonstration.  Then, I interviewed him about the amount of training and practice that goes into doing some of the things he demonstrated.  I concluded by having him teach the kids in the room a simple move they could practice on their own.  Following the demonstration we talked about spiritual disciplines and how you have to train yourself in those areas as well.  The kids had a blast, as did my son, and they still talk about that lesson and remember the point of it today.

If you don’t know where to find people to come show off their skills, just ask!  You’ll be amazed at what you can find in your own congregation.  Like visual aids in general, one key point to remember is that any demonstration you incorporate into your lesson should always have a point.  The demonstration should expand upon or reinforce your lesson.  No matter how much the kids might enjoy them, frivolous demonstrations are a bad stewardship of the time God gives us with the kids in our ministries.

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#47 – The Use of Visual Aids and Focal Points (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.

If used incorrectly, the visual aid can easily become tacky and distracting rather than a useful tool.  However, used correctly it can give you a visual focal point for your lesson and give your kids something to easily remember the lesson by.  If you do choose to use a visual aid, it should be something that the kids in your ministry are familiar with.   An outboard motor or coffee maker won’t resonate with the kids and likely won’t add anything to your lesson.  Ideally, you want to pick something so familiar to the kids that they are likely to encounter it in their everyday lives.  Your goal in using a visual aid is that whenever kids see that aid in everyday life it would spark a memory of a particular lesson.

Visual aids can range from the very simple (a sword to represent the Bible) to the very complex (a manger scene with live animals to teach about Christmas).  Remember, you want to pick something that the kids are familiar with.  If you want a boat to use as a visual aid when talking about Jesus walking on water, find a toy boat (or better yet a remote control boat set up in a small pool).  This will likely resonate more with the kids than a life preserver or a picture of a yacht.  Be creative with what you choose for visual aids.  If you’re telling the story of David and Goliath, a sling shot is a choice for a visual aid.  If you practice, you could even put on a little demonstration, though I don’t advise getting the kids involved in that particular demonstration!  If you’re telling the story of Gideon and his army, you could bring in a puppy to help the kids visualize the soldiers by the river who lapped up the water like dogs. The more creative you get, the more likely the kids are to retain the lesson and remember it when they see that visual again.

A couple of warnings about visual aids are important.  First, make sure you check with the appropriate people before using live animals or anything else too far out of the ordinary.   Most importantly, if you are going to use visual aids, remember that they are supposed to be a tool.  They are meant to enhance what you are teaching, but they should not become the focal point of the lesson itself.  That job and position belongs to Jesus alone.  Never let your visual age upstage Christ in your lesson!

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#46 – Using Contrast to Mix Things Up (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.

One effective way to regain a child’s attention when their mind starts to wonder during your teaching is to include an abrupt change in your presentation.  This abrupt change can take many forms.  If you’re teaching a very serious portion of your lesson, switch abruptly to something funny.  If your lesson is fast pace, suddenly slow down your presentation speed.  If you’re speaking loudly, drop your volume quickly to something just slightly louder than a whisper.  The sharp contrast in your teaching style will have the effect of drawing the kids back into your lesson.

Along the same lines, another technique which can be very effective when used correctly is silence.  Silence is a powerful thing.  Most people do not care for silence and they drone on and on rather than allow a silent moment.  However, in teaching a silent pause in the middle of your lesson can be very effective.  It allows you to collect your thoughts.  And, it allows the children some time to reflect on the lesson.  In most situation silence generally means the end of what you have to say.  If your silent pause is misperceived as the end of what you are going to say, the kids will be more likely to start listening again to see what comes next.  Be careful though with the power of silence.  If you allow your silent pause to continue on too long, you will start to lose the kids’ attention rather than gaining it.

I’m going to go practice silence right now.  Until next time….

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#45 – Teach From Their Level (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.

When I was 21, my best friend’s sister had a baby.  I remember going over to his house one day and walking upstairs where he was playing with the new baby.  As I walked into the room, I noticed that they were having a great time.  Having a great time, that is, until the baby turned around and noticed me.  I’m a big guy (about 6’5”), and the sight of me sent him into hysterics.  That pattern continued for several years.  When my friend’s nephew was two, he backed off a porch one day when he saw me coming.  Back then, I never would have imagined that God would have Children’s Ministry in my future.  The interesting thing was that when I was sitting down my friend’s nephew would walk right up and play with me.  You see, to him I was some sort of giant until I sat down and dealt with him on his level.

The same technique works in Children’s Ministry.  See, we look big to the kids in our ministry.  To them, we are just like all the other adults in their lives whose primary reason for existence is to tell them what to do.  In Children’s Ministry, our role is not to just give them a list of things we want them to, or not to, do but to explain that God wants to have a relationship with them and what that relationship looks like.  While they should recognize the authority we have in the classroom, when we are talking about our relationship with God we are all brothers and sisters, not teachers and students.  Sometimes it will do a great deal of good to get on their level when presenting your lesson.  Sit down or get down on the ground so that you’re looking straight into their eyes rather than looking down on them.  Physically and figuratively, we should not be in a position where we are looking down on the kids in our ministry.

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#44 – Read To Them (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.

Many people think of reading stories to kids as something you do in the nursery or preschool classes.  They reject it as an effective means for teaching elementary aged kids.  The fact of the matter is that most kids like stories, and they like to be read to.  I wouldn’t want to read them a book every weekend, but it is an effective means to break up your lessons a little bit by mixing in a week every now and then where you pull up a chair or sit on the floor and just read them a story.

There are some great books out there that I turn to from time to time for use in children’s ministry.  One of my favorites is The Jesus Storybook Bible which made #2 in my list of the Top Ten Christian Books for Kids.  Combining great storytelling with compelling images, this book is perfect for captivating kids and will be a great resource for your children’s minsitry.  The biggest problem I have when I use it is that I find the kids crowding in trying to take in every picture and every word.  I read it to my kids at home (ranging from age 2 to almost 9), and they all love it.  Of course, there are also other great kids’ storybook bibles out there that you can read from.

Of course, the classic book that you should read from every week is the Bible.  Frankly, this one should be a bit of a “no brainer.”  Our lessons should be taken directly from God’s Word, so why not read the verses you are teaching from to the kids you are teaching?  Don’t just tell them what’s in the book, read it to them so they can see it for themselves.  Reading from the Bible, in addition to whatever else you do in your lesson, should build excitement about God’s Word in their hearts.

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