Making Lessons Relational

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Kids learn best when there is a personal connection with those tho teach them. (So do adults, for that matter. It’s no mystery why the #1 reason people leave a church is that they don’t like the pastor.) If we don’t connect with our kids relationally, we reduce our impact. There are lots of way to be a relational teacher. The Kidology Handbook is the book on the topic, but there are many fun ways to do it as well, by personalizing the little things you do every week. Next week we conclude our Armor of God Series – it’s been a LOT of fun. The kids have really enjoyed our Roman Soldier we’ve been bringing through time to learn. (Watch videos of these lessons here.) The kids really enjoy Micah – he is a nut – and willing to do anything to engage the hearts and minds of our kids. (See Capturing Kids Imagination When You Teach.) So when I needed to create an activity for small groups next week, I decided to incorporate Micah into the activity. During the first week of this series, Micah showed up at church in his pajamas – and we ended up talking about …

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How to be an AWESOME Small Group Leader

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Many churches today use a Large Group / Small Group format. That simply means all the kids first gather together for a large group teaching that may utilize videos, skits, object lessons, puppets or games, and a gifted teacher who is able to engage a large group of children effectively. Then, the kids break into small groups for discussion, a simple game perhaps, and other activities to help dig a little deeper into the lesson topic. If you are a small group leader, here are FIVE TIPS to make your time as effective as possible: #1 Understand how important you are! Often small group leaders sell themselves short. They may not have the “up front” skills of the Large Group teacher and so they may mistakenly think that they aren’t as important. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Your role is critical. No matter how amazing your large group teacher may be, they are teaching to a LARGE group. They can’t have the relational impact that you can. Notice, Jesus amazed large crowds, but he poured his life into a small group called the disciples. The crowds ran when Jesus was dying, but it was those disciples who carried on …

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It Just Stacks Up!

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If you are a regular reader on Kidology.org, you know my passion for relational ministry, a term I started using over twenty years ago before it was hip. (Download my free book on the topic.) Jesus did a lot of teaching – but first he formed relationships with those He wanted to reach. It is no different in children’s ministry. When we play with kids we create a relationship, and out of that relationship we can have a huge impact! One of the BEST tools I have discovered for connecting with kids is with Speed Stacks. I helped introduce sport stacking to the world of kids ministry years ago when I discovered what a magnet it was for drawing and engaging kids. As I promoted it on Kidology, Speed Stacks credited me with expanding the growing sport from schools to churches across the country. I even headed up the effort to introduce sport stacking as an official Awana Game. (See Awana.org/sportstacking) I even got to be their spokeman! Kids LOVE sport stacking with Speed Stacks! It is fun, easy to learn, and is probably the best sport when it comes to allowing kids of all athletic ability compete equally. Regardless …

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Sharing the Gospel to Get Results

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This past Sunday our church enjoyed having Barney Kinard visit as our guest speaker. Barney is known as the Kidhelper. He is a former children’s pastor, 50 year veteran children’s evangelist, and Kidology Coach. We celebrated 26 children making decisions for Christ on Sunday. Guiding children to making this life-altering decision doesn’t happen by mistake. It requires intentionality, creativity, skill and a sense of purpose. Let me share with you several observations I made on Sunday as I watched Barney “do his thing” that he has been doing for years developing presentations that create results. 1) Be Real. Barney doesn’t go into character. He is himself. He is the same person before and after the presentation. Kids need to connect with a real person if they are to make real decisions. 2) Don’t Talk Down to Children. Too often adults talk down to kids. They can do this both with their tone of voice, mannerisms or by talking to them as though they are younger or “dumber” than they really are. Expect kids to engage and understand and they will. They appreciate being honored as people, not as “just kids.” 3) Use Language Kids Understand. Barney avoids using “big words” …

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Horse Race vs. Locomotive Ministry

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If a train were to race a horse, over the long haul the train would certainly win. The average train cruises along at speeds well over 100 mph, whereas a race horse runs about 35-45mph. But in a short sprint, the race horse would leave the train in it’s dust. Have you ever watched a train start? You might fall asleep! Have you ever watched a horse race start? When the gate opens the horses burst out and the race is on! Which describes your ministry programming? VS. When it comes to children’s ministry, we certainly are in the business of long term results, but when it comes to a Sunday morning – we don’t have a lot of time. We MUST gain kids attention and fast so that we can lead them into a life-changing learning experience. Slowly picking up speed from a dead stand still is a formula for boring kids and disengaging their active minds. Your children’s ministry programming, whether it is Kid’s Church or a midweek club – needs to START promptly and be off and running as soon as the “gate” opens. I’ve been saying it for years, “You don’t demand kid’s attention – you …

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