Posts Tagged "Large Group"

#43 – Don’t Be Afraid to Admit That You May Be Too Old (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.

Whether you’re 22 or 42, there may be times when you are too old to be the best person to relate to a bunch of young children.  Find kids who are just a little bit older than the kids in your ministry to help you out.  Children tend to relate to and bond well with kids who are just a little bit older than they are.  Let’s face it – they’re cooler than you are.  Use this to your advantage.  Have the middle school kids in your church come and teach the elementary age kids every once in a while.  Build a high school worship team for your Children’s Ministry.  Using older kids to help you out is particularly effective in getting kids involved in worship.  They are much more willing to open up, sing and dance if they see an older teenage boy leading worship.  Find older kids to help you with sound and video (they’re probably better at it that you anyhow).  If you don’t know which kids to ask, ask their parents.  Although some can be a bit biased and blind to reality when it comes to their own kids, most parents know whether or not their children are good with younger kids.

Here another free tip.  If you’re having trouble keeping up on the latest trends and cultural phenomena, find a middle schooler.  They’re still young enough to know what the younger kids like, and they’re old enough to talk to you about them.  No of us likes to admit that we’re old, but sometimes it is in the best interest of the kids that we minister to to admit it.

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#42 – Be Specific With Your Application (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 lessons include an application or challenge to the kids which is generally a great idea. However, you have to be careful not to be too vague in making applications.  Give the kids something specific to do.  Encourage them to tell someone about Jesus that week or invite a friend to church.  Follow up the next week and find out which kids followed through.  Who did tell someone about Jesus and who invited someone to church?  If you’re teaching a lesson on what the Bible has to say about itself, encourage the kids to read at least a chapter a day in their Bible for one week, and then have them tell you what they learned.  If you’re teaching the story of creation, encourage the kids to make a list that week of five things they notice in the world around them that are so awesome that God MUST have made them.  If you’re teaching about prayer, have them write down at least one thing they can pray for themselves that week and one person they can pray for that week and encourage them to make those prayers each night.  Kids don’t tend to deal in the generalities – they like something specific that they can do!

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#41 – Step Into The Story (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.

Storytelling is a vital part of teaching.   There is no quicker way to lose the attention of a group of kids than to just stand up and read them a story.  Stories were not meant to be just read – they were meant to be told!  One tip I picked up from some of the books I’ve read on the subject is to make yourself part of the story.  As you’re telling the kids a story, whether it be from the Bible or some other source, step in and out of the story and become one of the characters.  Take on that character’s personality, accent and mannerisms.  If you’re telling the story of Jesus walking on the water, become Peter when you get to the part of the story  where he asks the Lord to allow him to walk on water.  Express his amazement as he walks on water and his despair and fear as he starts to sink.  As you step into and out of the story, there is no need to announce that you are doing it (as in, “if I were Peter I would say…”).  If your storytelling is effective, the kids will recognize what you are doing without ever missing a beat.  Stepping into the story is one of many ways you can make your storytelling more effective and engaging.  It’s also one of the simplest ways.

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#40 – Play With 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.

There is no denying that kids like to have fun.  Watch a group of five-year-olds with nothing to play with or play on, and they will still find some way to have fun.  In our roles as teachers and disciple makers in Children’s Ministry, we sometimes lose sight of important things like having fun.  One of the best ways I have found of forming lasting bonds with kids is to play with them.  On Wednesday nights at Awana, surrounded by hundreds of kids, I always try to find some time to shoot some baskets, or push a kid on a scooter, or play catch.  There is something about playing and having fun that forms a bond that conversation can’t match.  In addition, it’s a good way to connect with shier kids who don’t like to talk.  Whether you’re leading the kids in a game or just observing, get involved – play with them!

So, what does this look like in large group setting?  Well, first of all, it means making sure that you take a serious, but still light hearted, approach to teaching.  Just because the material we are teaching is on eternal importance doesn’t forbid us from having fun with the kids we have been given stewardship of.  Make a joke here and there.  Engage the kids in conversation.  Laugh when you goof up (you will goof up at some point).  Play games.  Keep them guessing.  Be goofy.  Whatever you do, find a way to incorporate fun into your lesson.  You won’t regret it.

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#39 – Candy, Candy, Candy (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.

There are all kinds of debates out there today about whether or not using candy as an incentive in Children’s Ministry is appropriate or not.  I understand the arguments against candy.  It’s unhealthy.  Kids don’t need all that sugar.  What if the parents don’t like it?  If you give them candy, you’re bribing them to behave when they should just behave because it’s the right thing to do.  Like I said, I understand all the arguments.  That said, I give out more candy than Willy Wonka in my classroom.  We have a discipline and reward system where kids can earn up to three pieces of candy every single week.  In addition to that, I ask questions each week and give candy to the kids for right answers.  I hand out candy to the kids who volunteer to help in the large group portion of the lesson.  We have parties with sweets and punch to celebrate our Lord.

So, that’s where I come down on the issue, now let me explain the reason why.  Kids are all different, but the one thing I’ve found that they all seem to like – is candy.  They might like different kinds and have different favorites, but they all seem to like candy.  That makes it a powerful motivator and one you should take advantage of!  As for the argument that it’s unhealthy, my experience is that there are very few kids that NEVER eat candy.  The point is not that they should never eat sweets, but that they should understand stewardship.  Even candy, in moderation, is not bad for you.  Finally, many people resist handing out candy because they fear parents will object.  To date, I have never had such an objection, but I do respect the fact that parents have been appointed by God to be the ultimate decision makers for their kids.  To that end, even when we do pass out candy as prizes, our rule is that the kids have to wait until their parents pick them up to eat it.  That gives parents the opportunity to regulate the sugar intake.  In short, my advice when it comes to candy is – Never underestimate the power of a good bribe!

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