Bringing Life Back Into Your Kid's Ministry (How To Use Short Illustrations, Stories, and Videos Effectively)
1. Use Kids as Leaders
Kids will always remember what they do more than what they hear. So don't be afraid to teach them how to lead Praise and Worship, how to participate in dramas, or even how to lead other kids from their seats!
They will enjoy having something to do - and you will definitely enjoy the help!
2. Build Excitement Before Class with a Countdown
This one may be new for some Kids' Pastors, but a pre-class countdown is a valuable tool! It informs the kids that class is about to start, it reminds them that they should use the bathroom, and (if you use a good countdown) it will build excitement as class time gets closer!
There are several places to find countdowns, here are two:
Where to Find Countdowns:
Hillsong Kids - Tell The World
3. Kick Off the Class With Energetic Praise Songs
As soon as the countdown ends, there should be a fast, high-impact praise song starting! Many modern songs already have motions to them. If they don't, make some up! Push the kids into dancing hard - take this opportunity to teach them how to have fun in God's presence!
An added bonus is that you're using up a lot of the energy that would otherwise be sitting in their chairs with them through class!
A lot of the older songs were good in their day, but it may be time to move away from "Father Abraham" :)
Hillsong Kids is a well-known source of Praise and Worship. Citikidz is another great resource!
Citikidz - Lift My Praise Up
4. Never Allow Dead Space
This is probably one of the most important keys in effective kid-min. If you allow five uncontrolled seconds in your class - you could spend the next five minutes trying to get their attention back.
Always have a plan for the length of class. If it looks like there's going to be a moment of nothing - then get up and repeat the memory verse at least!
Willie George has a saying for kid-min that I've adopted as my motto - "Always act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't"
5. Make Your Rules Clear
We need to teach the kids that obeying rules can be fun. A kid that grows up without knowing how to follow rules is gonna be in trouble!
Make sure you don't let kids go through your class without knowing what they can and can't do! Very early in class, have them repeat your class rules after you.
Once you've set your rules, follow them! Don't allow a kid, any kid, to disobey the rules. Our policy is warn, then move to a different seat, then have their parents come get them. This is very effective - In the last year I've only sent one child out!
6. Use Multimedia!
Forget flannel-graph and chalkboards! Do as much as you can on your TV or Projector!
Use short videos to reinforce the point you're teaching on. For example, when I taught on holding onto what you believe, even when no one else agrees - I used a clip from Horton Hears A Who. When your kids hear and see someone else making the same point your making, it drives it in a little deeper.
Websites With Relevant Media:
7. Use the Right Curriculum
Some curriculum is absolutely wonderful.
A lot of it is dull, lifeless, and generally boring.
It is essential that Kids' Pastors are picky about their curriculum!
There have been times when my lesson was energetic, but the message was powerless.
Other times the message was awesome, but the curriculum's presentation was boring!
Of course you want your curriculum to be Bible-based and powerful, but if it has a dull presentation, your kids won't be impacted by it! Choose your curriculum carefully and prayerfully!
Over my eleven years in kid-min - these are the curricula I enjoyed the most:
8. End Class With A Bang
Try not to put your more intense worship or prayer time at the end of class. Kids are most receptive of your quieter times toward the middle of class time. Instead, save the ending for your blowout game time!
If a kid walks out of class with a smile on his face - he's gonna want to come back!