Big Picture

Tips & Tricks

Dare to try it!

-Jay Hostetler

Our culture works hard at diverting kids from the real meaning of life. Busy schedules and fractured families have left our children worn out and stressed. This was so true for the community of families in Ridgewood, New Jersey that they decided to halt all activities city-wide for a 24-hour period.

Pressure to achieve and be superstars on every level causes kids to be more egocentric than sociocentric. Substitutes for relationships include video games, the Internet and desensitizing TV formats.

But we have the solution! There has never been a more important time to introduce children to the life-changing power of a relationship with Christ! It is our time to dare to try different ministry methods. New ways to communicate God’s Word can be birthed in prayer, with a dependency on the creative power of God. We need to step out of our normal approaches if we want to effectively touch children’s lives.

New ways to capture attention

I recently watched a video where a teacher focused on the first few moments of his presentation. He creatively grabbed his learners. He surprised them. They didn’t know what to expect and they were hooked. It is easy to become comfortable with routine. Try changing your room set-up or your starting style. Shake up the format of your lesson plan. A simple object can be used to set the tone for an effective learning experience. Change can spark new interest and capture attention!

New ways to connect

Kids are excited about being with their friends. Many kids choose to attend church activities only if they are sure their friends will be present. Are you intentionally providing opportunities for your students to connect? Building relationships is sometimes the best way for children to internalize our teaching. A starting point could be a pattern where half their relational time is child to child and half is adult to child. Try new ways for kids to build relationships and make a difference in their lives.

New ways to communicate

Our classrooms are filled with kids who learn differently. So how do we achieve the maximum communication? Use a game to introduce a truth. Share a personal story to drive home a special point. Get your kids involved in telling the story. Use video clips to create interest. Invite guests to help teach parts of the lesson.

Eighteen months ago I dared to try something new. I left behind 25 years of full-time staff ministry in the local church to start my own children’s ministry consulting firm. Was it scary? You bet! Has it been challenging? At times, yes. But I have learned as I trust in God and try new things, He is faithful and provides the path for me to follow. So dare to change the way you teach and expect to see change in a child’s life!