CHILDREN'S MESSAGES

An excerpt from my book, The Art of Teaching Sunday School. It will help you understand the kind of messages for children that I write. They are not written word-for-word, because I don't read them. Find a list of possible messages below that. 

There are a lot of options besides object lessons. To illustrate that the message is more important than who gives it, one presenter had a few children read something simple written for them. Then those little ones who couldn’t read were taught by them to repeat it, and following that the little ones taught the congregation to repeat it. A Director of Christian Education at my church used the congregation to tell the story of Jesus calming the storm. The congregation started making storm noises and waving their arms like waves and the children were Jesus. As the children walked down the aisle the storm grew until they shouted, “Stop!” Jesus has power over nature. Other options are:
  • Tell stories that are close to the emotions of the child. Stories that use human characteristics such as loving, sharing, and caring are excellent at this age.
  • Use poems, riddles, and songs. Putting scripture to rhythm and song helps them remember it. They need to be short, so break a verse down into a memorable phrase and have them repeat it multiple times throughout your message.
  • Use illustrations. Children read picture books and we know from Brain Rules that pictures help us understand and remember. If you’re telling a story make sure you use illustrations.
  • Use props, pictures, voices, puppets, and/or volunteer actors to tell stories.
  • If you have an abstract moral they won't get it, but they can answer simple questions like, "What happened when I...?" "What happened when (the puppet) hit the other one?" "What would happen if you...?" The information needs to be relevant to their experience, which is very much about them (egocentric).
  • Show pictures on the big screen and have kids answer questions about the picture. "What's happening in this picture?"
  • Teach them what Christian symbols stand for by showing pictures and repeating names.
  • Add movement to a story you’re telling. Teach them the stories of the Old Testament with hand motions. Add one a week and by the end of the year they’ll be able to tell the whole thing!
  • Have a repeated or repeatable phrase or Bible verse. Repeat it throughout. Use an Echo Story technique.
There are any number of things other than an object lesson that can be done more effectively for a children’s message. The key to the whole thing is to focus the message on the developmental level of the majority of the children who participate. Have fun!


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