2020-02-26 to 28 Pictures: Charleston, South Carolina

One of the few upsides of having to cancel our Spring Break trip last March at the onset of the pandemic is that we are "stuck" with a rather large voucher from one of those discount airlines. Last autumn, Tricia and I spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had a...

A John 3:16 Craft for Kids

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and reassuring verses in the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV) The following is a little craft I threw...

2020-03-01 Pictures: Lyndsey’s College Signing Day

This afternoon Lyndsey made it official, signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Hiram College Terriers starting next year. While she made the decision and committed to Hiram before Christmas, she has been looking forward to this day since her...

2020-02-13 Pictures: Lyndsey’s 18th Birthday

I am little behind on posting photos. These are some of my favorites from a couple of weekends ago when we got a chance to celebrate Lyndsey's 18th birthday. It's hard to believe that my little girl is officially an adult. It was nice to have the family all back...


Introduction I love working with kids, and I love teaching them hard concepts in ways they can understand. To that end, for years I have been working on a dictionary of theological terms for kids and teens. In sharing those definitions, there seemed no better place to...

If You Want It Done Right

In all likelihood, you know how the phrase ends: If you want it done right, DO IT YOURSELF! This is a bit of a mantra for me, and frankly, something that I struggle with daily both in leadership and in my Christian walk.  In theory, this is easy to accept. ...

What Does God Hate?

This is the little and humble post that started it all. I happened to be reading through my Bible, and this passage impacted me so much that I posted a little blurb about it on Facebook. That was July 28, 2008, and I've been writing and sharing ever since. (Maybe...

#26 – Always Be On The Lookout (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 you’re flipping through television stations, do you stop at the Cartoon Channel to see what’s on?  Do you frequently check out the best-seller listing of top children’s books to know what kids are reading?  Do you subscribe to magazines aimed at kids? Do you watch commercials on Saturday morning to get a feel for toys are popular with kids today?  Do you go out of your way to find kids’ movies?  Do you walk up and down the aisles at toy stores to see what they’re playing with?  As workers in Children’s Ministry, we must be acutely aware of the culture that the kids in our ministry are living in.  We must understand it in order to converse with the kids on their level and in order to take steps to counteract any negative impacts that our culture may have on them.  After all, the Bible tells us to be in the world but not of the world, and we should have the same goal for the kids we minister to.   We must appreciate the subculture of kids in order to relate to them on their level.

Furthermore, it’s important to always keep your eyes and ears open.  You never know where you might find a great story or an object lesson you can use on a Sunday morning.  Jesus taught in parables that were relevant and understandable to those he was teaching.  Where possible, we should try to do the same thing with the kids we minister to.

A word of warning though is appropriate here.  The gospel and the Bible are timeless and are as good for teaching children today as they were a thousand years ago.  I am not talking about “updating” the Bible or the gospel in order to make it relevant to kids.  What I am suggesting is that in order to build relationships with kids that will enable us to speak the gospel and Word of God into their lives, we must understand and learn from the kid culture.  In order to connect with kids, we must understand the world that they live in on a daily basis.

Finally, we must understand that just because it’s secular doesn’t necessarily make it bad.  There are things we can learn from culture.  For example, I took my wife and kids to Disney World in Orlando for a week last January.  I couldn’t help but look around and drink in the sense of excitement and wonder of the kids in those parks.  I started to think, “How can we create this same type of excitement amongst the children in our churches?”  When I watch American Idol, I see an example of the futile chasing after worldly success and acceptance that is prevalent in our society that ignores the fact that true success and acceptance can only be found in Christ.  When I hear a new worship song, I wonder how the kids in our ministry would react to it if we included it in our song rotation.  I start to analyze kids songs I hear on the radio to try to figure out what makes them appealing to kids.  When I walk through the bookstore, I check out the kids section to see if the books they are reading can somehow be used as part of a Bible lesson.  When I play the Wii with my kids, I take note of what excites them and what they find boring.

We should always be on the lookout for something we can use to relate to the kids in our ministry and teach them more effectively.  So long as those things are not unbiblical, there is no reason we can’t incorporate some of them into our Children’s Ministry.  We must be constantly observing and learning from the kids around us.  We must become keen observers of the culture in which the kids in our ministry live.  Children’s Ministry is much more than something we do on the weekends.  It must become part of our normal everyday lives.

Return to the Tips for Large Group Teaching in Children’s Ministry index page.