I’m letting out on of my ‘secrets’ in the upcoming release of Part Two of the Kids Church Cook Book and I thought it might make a good blog post. I was writing about a unique way I start children’s church – (perhaps another post later) and then describing something I do when I am doing my welcome…
“Like the late night talk shows, after the welcome activity, I often do what I call my monologue, it is when I come out and just talk to the kids. I tell a humorous story from the week, I greet the kids. I look for visitors. I comment on things they are wearing or brought with them. I may ask a few kids questions about their personal life, “How’s your grandma doing?” (Shows that child I care, and other children that I’m connected to individual lives.) This time is loose, very short, and very personal, but very intentional. It is just me and the kids connecting. They will feel like I am just shooting the breeze, but often I have almost rehearsed the stories I might tell of something funny that happened during the week and have the kids almost falling on the floor laughing, and then amazingly the story ends up relating to our lesson. (coincidence? not!)
The Eye Ball Game
I make it a point to try and look every child in the eyes during my opening greeting time. I call it the “eyeball game” but it is only a game in my mind. No one but me knows it is a game. As I am talking to the kids I am looking out over their faces and making eye to eye contact with each and every child. If a child isn’t looking at me, I will come back to them. If I need to walk out and among them to look into the eyes of every child – then I do that! If I need to gently put my hand on the shoulder of a child to get them to look up, then I do that. If I need to kneel down to see their eyes, I do that. No child is missed. I have no Bible verse to back this up, but I think this is how Jesus ministered. (Of course, He could see into their hearts!) But He wasn’t about delivering messages – he was about connecting with people – eye to eye.
When you look someone in the eye, you connect with their soul. Think about it, when you are in a crowd and listening to a preacher or speaker and make eye contact – even for a moment – there is suddenly power in that moment! Their words suddenly are for YOU and I bet you remember what they were talking about at that moment later! Perhaps you even wonder if they intended to look at you at that very moment; if the words they were saying were somehow intended more for you than for anyone else in the room. Imagine giving children that same feeling when you are welcoming them! You are glad THEY are there! You want to teach THEM! You have a message for THEM from God’s Word. God has something THEY need to hear today. Don’t under estimate the power of the “eyeball game!” Do it during your opening and during your teaching and again during your challenge at the end of your lesson. You can be an average teacher, but if you master the “eye ball game” your effectiveness will sour because you will be connecting with your little audience and they will go home having heard you.”
Just thought it was time I let my secret out – perhaps you’ll try my “game” the next time you teach. It is challenging at first to concentrate on what you are saying and the mental game of looking at every child and keeping track of who you have looked eye to eye at so far, and who you haven’t – but if you practice, you will get good at it, and soon you will do it naturally – and it will greatly improve your effectiveness and your impact.
And I hesitate to tell you this but…
I do it when I teach workshops too. ;)