I’ve been writing about upping the level in which we communicate to kids. I’ve targeted three essentials which include the following:
Humor is vital to the message. The very same words spoken without humor can land on deaf ears. Credibility answers the question, Why should I listen to you?” Without credibility, your message won’t connect as effectively as you’d desire.
Let’s talk about the third essential, packaging.
I think that the church has been guilty of an unspeakable horror, something we should be absolutely ashamed of. What is this horror? Boring kids out of their minds while at church.
The Bible is an EXCITING book. It’s filled with life-giving answers to the hardest and most awful life circumstances. I’m not even sure how it is possible to make Biblical truth boring, but somehow it happens every single week in thousands of churches around the world.
When communicating to kids, it’s important to considering the packaging. I’m talking about the delivery. When teaching, we have the responsibility to creatively engage with our audience. Jesus did this nearly every time spoke. He was a descriptive, hands-on and story-driven communicator. His messages were never boring. Much of his teaching was controversial, personal and risky. Jesus used thoughtful illustrations and examples when he taught. He told imaginative stories. The Gospel was too important.
When communicating to kids, you should be passionate about what you’re sharing. If you’re not passionate about the message, it’s probably because your story is too shallow or you don’t have an adequate understanding of the content. The story of Noah’s Ark is bigger than a story about animals. It’s a story of God’s faithfulness even when things are hard. It’s a story of obedience even when we don’t know the “why.” It’s a foreshadowing of Jesus and his plan to save the world. How many different ways can you tell the simple story of Noah’s Ark that connect to God’s amazing nature and the challenges we face in life every day. It’s not hard to find passion in any of the classic Bible Stories, but how frequently does the church recount a stale version of these amazing truths.
When communicating to kids, don’t underestimate what the kids can understand. For some reason, we assume that some truth is too big for kids, so we feed them something else. At my dinner table, my kids eat everything I eat. It might be in smaller portions, but they eat the same food. Kids are able to grasp challenging theological and biblical truths, it just takes a little longer to explain. Sometimes you have to cut the truth into smaller “bite-sized” pieces for kids to be able to digest. I’ve found that kids love to be challenged intellectually and spiritually.
When communicating to kids, make it fun. Make it something they can get their young minds around. Make it delicious, something they crave. Create strong tension between the problem kids identify with and the solution that God offers. Tell great stories to help kids identify with both the problem and the solution. Use powerful visuals and examples to help kids connect the dots between the scripture and their current situation. Help kids connect to the solution, empowering them to make decisions and take action.
The Word of God is powerful and sufficient. It’s your job to help an 8-year-old boy understand what scripture is saying to him in his unique context. Package the scripture appropriately for him. It’s your job to help a 4 year-old girl understand the Bible in a way that she understands. Package the scripture appropriately for her.
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