You’re Not Really HEARING me!
Everything a kid tells you is important. You may not think it’s important, but to that kid, at that moment, it’s the most important thing in their world.
We as adults have, over time, developed a filter called: “THE STUFF IMPORTANT TO ME” filter. And we react accordingly. If someone tells you something that is interesting to YOU – YOU naturally react with genuine interest. YOU react with attention. YOU react because you actually care.
But when someone tells you something that you have no interest in, you may try to react as though you care – because you don’t really want to offend the person trying to tell you something. But you’re not really listening, are you?
When that child walks up to you and shows you his loose tooth… this is a big deal – no wait! It’s a BIG DEAL! When she tells you that it was her birthday yesterday… it’s a BIG DEAL! When a kids tells you that his family is taking him on vacation to “Happy World”, it’s a BIG DEAL! When she explains that her dog is lost… it’s a BIG DEAL. When they point to their new shoes… it’s a BIG DEAL. Should I go on?
How many times have you had one of these experiences to only usher that child to his seat and tell him politely that he can tell you later? After all, it’s time to start class, right.
To a child, you may be the most important person in their life that needs to know this information. Your reaction will determine their significance at that very moment in THEIR WORLD.
Are you really listening?
It starts from the moment they walk in…
You might have assumed that this whole series of posts was going to be about how to prep and present a better children’s church. And guess what? Later, I am going to discuss that very thing… but, later.
Before you can start the 5 minute countdown, make a grandiose announcement, send in a crazy character, start your Bible on fire, or eat donuts suspended from a rope, we need some kids to come thru the doors. If the kids don’t show up, you’d be starting your Bible on fire for, well… nobody.
But what can you do to keep kids from getting bored from the moment they come into your ministry area?
Engage them! Here are a few suggestions:
- Decor- Have your ministry room(s) decorated to reflect the theme of your ministry or the topic that you are teaching. Whether you have the ability, permission and money to deck-out an area for kids or you have to set it up and tear it down; kids know when they are being welcomed and if you’ve prepared for them. Banners, backdrops, balloons, props/scenery and murals will create an environment that kids will remember.
- Ambiance- Fun music that is upbeat and fun or anticipatory will help kids feel like this is the place just for them. Light up the room(s) with different colors to help accent and compliment the look of the room. Video clips that are familiar or interesting to kids will make a welcoming experience. AND FOR GOODNESS SAKES – clean up the clutter, vacuum, adjust the temp and eliminate odor!
- Activities- When kids enter any new environment, their internal intensity changes. Kids need an outlet for energy. So have some energy-outlet friendly stuff ready. Board games, twister, an art station, simple “carnival”-type games, long-jump contests, high-jump contests, follow the leader, quiz games, treasure/scavenger hunts, video games… Use your imagination. I mean, look at it as if “nothing kid-friendly is off-limits”.
- Relational Interaction- Having the leaders in your areas who are initiating interaction will create a memory and set the temperature for an experience. What do the leaders do? Ask kid-related questions; about their clothes, school, shoes, movies, video games, toys, pets, vacation, friends, etc. Having some conversation starters are important. Read my post about “What I’ve Kept in my Pockets” These little items will help leaders start conversations and create experiences.
Have I given you something to think about? More later.
It’s just the world we live in. Kids are sucked into media-crazed stupors that they are stuck in. They have the luxury of playing any video game they want, watch any movie on-demand they can access and visit with kids all over the world. And when they show-up at church, they’re being told that Jesus is a mighty savior… but he keeps falling off of the felt-board.
Is the answer human felt-board presentations? Maybe!
My question is: what do kids like that will engage them in what God’s Word says?
In this next blog series we will explore what kids like, don’t like and what we can do about it.
While I write some more, go pick up the little felt-Jesus off of the floor…