Seth Godin is a successful and respected entrepreneur and business author. In his blog he wrote:
I stumbled on a great typo last night. “Staff in the lobby were wondering around…”
Wandering around is an aimless waste of time. Wondering around, though, that sounds useful. Wondering why this product is the way it is, wondering how you can make the lobby more welcoming, wondering if your best customers are happily sharing your ideas with others… So many things worth wondering about, so few people actually taking the time to do it. Wondering around is the act of inquiring with generous spirit.
Colin Peckham, preacher and author once told us, “In God’s work you’ve got to have time to dream.”
In kid’s ministry we can spend time preparing our crafts, planning the décor, selecting or making our visuals, studying the lesson…and a thousand and one other good and vital things. But what a joy when we have time to dream!
A relaxing environment can be hard to come by, but if we find it, then coupled with a sanctified imagination and an intimacy with God, we can dream his dreams, catch his vision, think the impossible. As Seth Godin said, wondering around can be very useful.
What will keep kids returning to our classes and clubs week after week?
Do we need to add more pzazz to our meetings, more fun, more technology?
Wayne, over at Dad in the Middle says:
No matter how relevant…no matter how exciting…no matter how deep…no matter how much fun your children’s ministry is, the key ingredient in successful children’s ministry is love. It is more likely to bring kids back to you ministry week after week than virtually anything else you might try.
Check out what else he has to say about how this love can be implemented
What if some of the children in your meeting have no family in the church? What if Christian church life is a foreign culture to them? How can you relate Bible principles to their life experience? And how might you engage their parents with the Christian message, so that they feel welcome and comfortable in church?
Reaching beyond the church walls, out into a culture which is not familiar with Christianity, is not easy. But Gary Newton has tackled these issues in a thoughtful and thorough way, over at ChristianMinistry.com.
There is a lot of food for thought in Drop Off or Drop Out? Spare five minutes to check it out. And if you have longer, there’s a wealth of good things elsewhere on the site.
An excellent article on Inside Northpoint Kids blog is entitles The Making of a GREAT Preschool Storyteller.
But all the points mentioned are relevant for story-telling to kids of any age, not just pre-schoolers.
We may not all be born story-tellers or communicators, but this article will help us all to improve our skills.
Read here about the six steps to story-telling skills.
It’s always good to improve our communication skills. One way to open ourselves up to learn more about this topic is to see how professional communicators think and work.
Nora Reed, in a blog post for professional logo designers, asks the question:
Is your logo design capable of making your customers SMILE?
Limited in references
What better goal could we have with the kids (or indeed teens or adults) we teach?
- Simple: one or at the most two teaching points clearly explained and repeated in different ways
- Memorable: using illustrations that make the link from what they know to what we hope they will learn; having physical activities and worksheets that reinforce the main teaching point of the lesson; using music to sing the truths into their memories and hearts; modelling in our own lives the truths we want them to remember
- Inviting: a warm, caring, environment with fun, that draws them back week after week; where discipline is fair and every child has a chance to enjoy the class or meeting without hindrance; where they are known and welcomed by name.
- Limited in references: for the advertiser that meant not copying or echoing too many other products. That could confuse the customer and sully the uniqueness of the branding.
For us it could simply mean what it says – not bamboozling our kids by referring to too many Bible references in one lesson. It’s okay to paraphrase now and again, in language the children understand. Of course, we always make it plain that the Bible is our source. As points 1 and 2 say, we want to be simple and memorable.
- Exciting: no need to spell out that one. If we are excited and enthusiastic, that will communicate to the kids. If we are fresh, varied and even unpredictable in our programme, that will excite them too.
There are many ways to make our children SMILE. This is just first thoughts on seeing Nora’s tip for good communication. What would you like to add to the list?