Most people say that they are more afraid of speaking in public than they are of death. Which is understandable on one level and crazy on another. I guess when you are dead you can’t read posts on facebook of people comment on how bad you did. I like most people was at one point in my life very afraid to speak in front of other people, but if God has called you to be a pastor and lead others it’s a fear you don’t have the luxury of retaining.
Here is the reality that even though I have preached many messages and spoken at conferences I still need to be nervous at the right time, because when and what makes you nervous tells a lot about you. I still get nervous after years of experience but what makes me most nervous presently is very different from what used to make me nervous.
How to Communicate to kids.
Communicating to to anyone especially kids is more of an art than a science. I remember teaching a lesson to the kids it was a small group of like 30 kids I was going for it I had props I was ready I was engaging a boy in the 3rd grade raised his hand and I called on him he said “This is boring.”
Where you start from is as important as where you go.
To communicate to kids you need the following
1. A love for God’s word – No matter how fun amazing crazy slimy, explosiony our message is, if we are not continually pointing kids back to the bible we will have failed. We have to be more intentional than ever to create a biblical world view in the hearts of our kids.
89 Your word, LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;
you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day,
for all things serve you.
92 If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life
2. A love for Jesus – If you love Jesus it will fundamentally change how and why you do what you do. The core of our teaching has to be the Gospel. – When kids encounter the Gospel it changes them fundamentally.
One of the advantages of serving in kids ministry at the same church for 14 years you are able to see the results of ideas and philosophies you have. One of the things I regret most is not preaching the gospel as clear or as often as I should of. I don’t change hearts Jesus does.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Communicating to kids in large group setting.
- Always maintain eye contact – Kids learn with their eyes if you don’t have their eyes you don’t have their hearts and minds and most importantly their imaginations.
- Don’t stay in the Safety Zone – We all have a level we are comfortable with don’t stay there have Highs and lows. One of the best ways to get the attention of you kids is not yelling at them but by getting quiet.
- Don’t just give kids facts your information will not be life changing if it conveyed in the context of a story. Jesus did this all the time he called them Parables. Tell kids truth in a story. Tell them stories about you. Kids love personal stories about you especially if you messed up in some way.
- Talk to kids like people not babies – Hello boy’s and girls (Elmo voice)
- Use massive amounts of energy. – You can rarely be to animated. If you feel stupid you are probably right on track.
- Help kids focus – Use lights, segments and music.
- Be relevant – Know what kids like now don’t use examples from when you were a kid.
- Use your Bible – Bring it on stage. Kids need you to reinforce that bible is life. It’s not a book of fairy tales.
- Distill truth don’t simplify it. – We underestimate what kids can understand Einstein said “If you can’t Distill it you don’t understand it well enough.” One huge example for me was faith I used to describe it as “Believing in the unseen” that is a simple definition of faith a distilled version is “Knowing God loves you and because he loves you, you can trust him no matter what.” It’s easy to understand, theologically correct and doesn’t lose the power though oversimplification.
- Always elevate Christ – I always try in the application section to elevate Christ that because of what He’s done for us it empower us to live for him.
Communicating to kids in a small group
- Listen – Kids want to talk listen to them.
- Know you lesson, know you lesson – The better you know what you are doing the more you kids feel respected. The more you can connect with your kids. The more you can listen to the Holy Spirit and make those small adjustments that make all the difference.
- Take every question seriously.
- Be there for the families of you small group kids. What you teach makes an impact but when you capitalize on those God moments your kids will never forget it.
Communicating to kids one-on-one
- Get down to their eye level.
- Make sure you always great the kids before the parents.
- Give kids your full attention when they are talking.
The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School – Aaron Reynolds
Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe edition – Sally Lloyd-Jones
An Hour on Sunday – Nancy Beach
Creating ever cool
One of the best things you can do with your kids is teach them how to work. The kicker is that teaching your kids how to work is far more work than actually doing the work yourself. You have to slow down involve them in the process and explain why the work you are doing matters. If your kids don’t understand why work matters to you and why it matters to God they will see work as meaningless and will try to do work by themselves so they can get it done and move on. It’s important that kids learn from the process of work as much as accomplish the task before them. Helping your team set goals is much like this.
Setting goals for other people is a tricky business. As someone who leads others it is very easy to set goals for the team to hit and whip them into compliance constantly reminding them about what goals I have set for them. Can you accomplish things by setting goals for others? Yes and no. Yes people will do some things out of fear or because of relationship. If you do not involve your team in the creation of the goals you are trying to accomplish what you create is a unhealthy focus on results without regard for the process. They and you will see the trees but miss the forest. It’s much like teaching your kids how to work. Kids can understand that work gives me money without understanding that work glorifies God. As leaders we must be careful that we don’t get the results we want at a cost to our team and organization that will ultimately not bring glory to God.
Goals are achieved through a series of practical steps. Your team needs to buy into the goal but not necessarily the steps. If your teams buys into the goal they will trust you with the steps. There are actually three types of leadership The command and control leader who says these are our goals do them, the consensus leader who says what goals should we have, and the collaborative leader who says what goals should we have here is what I think we need to do together and this is what you need to do.
I favor collaboration because that’s how I believe you have to lead when leading volunteers for the long haul. Do you have to be command and control sometimes? Yes. Consensus sometimes? Yes. I believe both command and control and consensus leadership should be the exception to the rule especially when it comes to setting goals.
1. Goals should be agreed on how they are carried out should be dictated. Creativity and collaboration needs guidelines and riverbanks.
2. Personal goals are as important as team goals. – Personal goals help you see your fellow team member as humans and not goal production machines. Knowing the personal goals of your team reveals a side of them you don’t see when you are so focused on your ministry silo.
3. Goals help us focus as individuals and as teams. – You see through the unimportant to the most important. We all crave security. Security is achieved through clarity, clarity is achieved through specificity.