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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...

What is DOCTRINE?

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...

Six Ways to Persevere Through the Sluggish Times in Ministry

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the kind – where you really aren’t “in to” what you’re doing and you feel like you rather be doing just about anything else.  What do you do when those times correspond to your time in ministry. I wrote this...

A New Definition of Family

If we are going to effectively work with and understand kids today, we have to understand what a family is. Family, after all, is a defining characteristic for all us - some for the better and some for the worse. It seems like an...

Photos: 2021-02-20 Basketball (at Harvest Prep)

    Today was kind of a bittersweet day as Lyndsey finished up her high school basketball career. While losing 48-36 in the is not the way she would have wanted to finish, she led her team in scoring again this afternoon with 13 points and well over 10 rebounds...

#7 – If You Can't Remember Names, Be Creative! (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 will be times when you just can’t remember every child’s name.  It happens.  On Wednesday nights, we usually have roughly 150-200 kids for our Awana program.  I handle game time which is split into three groups.  I try my best to remember names, but no matter how much I try, I know I will never get them all down (especially the quiet ones).  I tell people that my memory is inversely proportionate to the number of kids I have and that it’s pretty much gone at this point with four kids of my own.

I am a rare specimen in that I am not at all good with either names or faces.  So, God has helped me to cope.  I always refer more generically to some kids each week (even when I know their names).  It could be “bouncy boy” in the second row, or “pink girl” in the back, or the “oh oh oh oh” kid to my right.  Or, I’ll pretend not to remember names of kids who are sure that I do know their names (my daughter, for example).  That way, if I don’t know a kid’s name, and I can’t see their name tag, I can still improvise and they don’t feel singled out or forgotten.  I also find that it adds some fun to the teaching.  The more creative you are with “names” the more the kids will laugh.  I will offer one word of warning though – some kids do not take well to it and might feel like you are making fun of them.  Never pick a name that will make a kid feel like you’re picking on them.  Your goal is to have all the kids in the class having fun WITH one another not laughing AT one another!

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

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