How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen

This past weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at an event called Illuminate.  This event is put on by my friend and fellow Kidmin Blogger, Kenny Conley.   It was an incredible time of pouring into a great group of leaders!

I did a workshop on “How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen.”  I thought I would share some of the thoughts I shared with those leaders.

How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen:

1.  When teaching the lesson or telling a Bible Story, have your Bible in your hand.  I never want kids to think God’s truth comes from a screen or a creative element.  God’s truth comes from the Bible.

2.  Change your volume and inflection often.  Make it purposeful, not just an “inflection roller coaster”Getting quiet is often more impactful than getting loud.

3.  Don’t use a script.  Memorize as much as possible, then speak from the heart.  If you use notes, make them as minimal as you can.  Eye contact is crucial.  Use your eyes to communicate as much as your mouth.  Preparation is the key!  Kids know when you are “winging it!”

4.   Use large hand movements. Small movements are not noticeable on stage.

5.    When possible, use stories – not just facts.  Jesus told parables, not just reciting scripture facts.  Tell your own personal stories as well as Bible stories.  Be willing to be open and vulnerable.

6.  Avoid the “baby talk” voice at all costs.  Kids want to be talked to like “small adults”, not “babies”.  Nothing turns a kid’s attention to the OFF position like a communicator using the “baby talk” voice.

7.  Three words:  energy, energy, energy.  It is nearly impossible to be TOO animated and energetic.  If you feel stupid, you are probably just scratching the surface.  It doesn’t matter how you feel or your staff feels.  It doesn’t matter if your dog at your favorite pair of boxers.  What matters is that souls are on the line, and kids are making decisions for eternity based on their understanding of the gospel you are presenting.

8.     Use technology to help set the mood.  Lower lights to help them focus.  Use background music when appropriate.  Use sound effects and Bible Story Illustrated Graphics during Bible Story.

9.     Use relevant and up-to-date examples.  Don’t say, “Hey kids, you know how much everyone loves to play with the Slinky?”  Know kid culture!  Watch Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Kids Choice Awards to see what’s HOT with kids!

10.  In a setting of varied ages, aim at the oldest in the room.  They are the leaders.  If you “have them”, then you have the youngest ones.  If your message is clear, then the younger ones will still “get it.”

How about YOU?  What are some keys to communicating to kids that you use often?  Leave a comment and let us know!

15 thoughts on “How To Communicate So Kids WANT To Listen

  1. Great stuff Brian!

    I like to use relevant motion loops whenever possible. I grabbed 2-5 second clips from Hanna Barbera’s “Greatest Adventures from the Bible” videos and created loops from them for all my Bible stories leading up to Easter.

    It made our kids church story time that much more visual and allowed me to give kids a glimpse into what cartoons were like when I was a kid. Double win!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank You, Brian! Do you ever use roll play? My kids love to be interactive, but it gets difficult as the class gets larger. I also have a large range of ages. Any suggestions?

  3. Wow love this Pastor Brian! Thanks for your bountiful insight on this subject. Im going to not only use some of these pointers at home with my son but also with our Youth.

  4. These are great reminders. I always make sure I have my Bible in my hand. I think another thing we must communicate is that the “stories” from scripture are real, and not fairy tales. There is a big difference. 🙂

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