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.
In this series, we’ve been through a ton of tips for improving and expanding your large group experience. Some may seem very natural to you, and some of these ideas may make you very uncomfortable. All of us are better at some things than others and find certain ideas more intimidating than others. So, while it’s important to find the things that we are good at, it’s equally important to stretch ourselves and try things that are not in our comfort zone.
In order to take over the large group teaching portion of our lesson, I had to give up doing small groups on a regular basis. Small groups were something that I loved and something I thought I was quite good at. It came naturally to me. I love talking to kids one-on-one and finding out what is going on in their lives. I love building on the large group lesson and helping kids figure out specific ways to apply it to their own lives. I had become very comfortable in the position of small group leader. So, as cool as I thought doing the large group teaching would be, I was a little bit apprehensive to give up something I was so comfortable with.
In the end, it was that level of comfort that actually led me to swallow the bullet and start teaching the large group. It was listening to a song by Matthew West called “The Motions” that finally convinced me that I needed to step out of my comfort zone. The lyrics to the chorus of that song are:
I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”
In our Christian life, we must continue to progress spiritually or we will regress. We are always moving one direction or the other. We should constantly be on the lookout for new ways to relate to and serve our God. I think the same idea is true in Children’s Ministry. We must constantly look for ways to change and grow in Children’s Ministry in order to honor God by conveying his love and grace to the children we teach. It is easy to identify things that work and things that we find comfortable with or good at and start to do those things week after week after week. The problem is that where we get comfortable the kids we influence tend to get bored, and being bored is not compatible with learning about God.
Challenge yourself to new try things in your spiritual walk and in ministry that you are not comfortable with. I’ve written about a number of things in this series that were far out of my comfort zone. I finally tried those things in our classroom because the kids like them. I am anything but dramatic. I don’t act. I don’t do costumes. But, in an effort to teach these kids about God, I have become different characters, dressed up, acted out stories, worn wigs, and all kinds of other things that I am anything but comfortable with. In doing so, God has taught me a lot about letting go of myself in service to him, and I found myself having a lot of fun doing things I never would have done in any other situation. One thing God has taught me is the absolute necessity of continuing to stretch my comfort zone for the purposes of his kingdom. After all, it’s not about me. It’s about God!