4 steps to better teaching and storytelling

Speaking to children is much different than speaking to adults. An adult usually has the self-control to sit and listen, even when not interested. A child, no matter the age, does not possess that same skill. They may be able to sit for a few minutes, but if they aren’t interested, you will soon know it. If you find yourself presented with the opportunity to teach children, whether in a  classroom, a library, a small group, a ministry,  a Sunday School, or you name the setting, there are a few things I have learned over the years that could be beneficial.

It is important to remember that everyone learns  differently. The fact is most of us will teach the way that we learn best. The problem with that is there will always be kids you are dealing with who learn differently. If you are  not prepared to vary your methods, you can be sure you will lose many of them. And we all know what happens once a child is no longer interested. Let the discipline issues begin!

There are lots more tips and tricks you could employ, but here are 4 that will help take your teaching or story telling to a new level. Continue reading


2 questions away from a ministry or classroom improvement

The dictionary says a consultation is a time of seeking advice, guidance or information. To consult means to consider or deliberate or to take counsel. We often consult with a doctor before special treatment. We consult with a lawyer before signing legal documents. A time of consulting is a time of informing yourself of the state of your current condition, or before a major decision.

So, what is the state of your current ministry or classroom? Are you getting ready to make a major decision? Who have you consulted with concerning either of these two situations?  It is wise to gather information, ask opinions, and seek counsel and advice no matter what stage you are at or how good you think things are going.

Often those that we ‘consult’ with are close to the situation. Those close to you
have similar views and opinions as you. It is nice to have the advice or opinion of
those outside of your circle to help you asses your situation. A fresh set of eyes
can help you see things you may take for granted, or things you may not even see at
all. Continue reading

Dealing with Discipline: classroom and ministry ideas and tips



Discipline is a sensitive topic.  Everyone has their own ideas and procedures. ” How do you deal with kids when they are being disruptive?” is a question I have been asked a lot.  Some of you know that often what I write can apply to many different situations, and I often relate it to  ministry.  From 5 years experience in a classroom setting and quite a few years in a ministry setting, here are a few things we do:


1. The Look–  it is amazing how effective it can be just by giving ‘the look’.  Most of the time kids know that their behavior is not acceptable, and simply catching their eye is enough to let them know that you see what they are doing.  Knowing they ‘got caught’ will often cause them to stop.  Mothers are especially good at giving this look. (now that I think about it, so are wives, but that is another topic for another day)  And I am sure that you can all remember receiving the look at some point in your life.

Continue reading

5 classroom and behavior management tips and tricks

Classroom/Behavior Management tips

School is starting soon, so I thought I would share a little from my days as a teacher.  As you know, many of my thoughts have ministry applications, and this one is no different.  Whether you are a classroom teacher, a home school teacher, a Sunday School teacher,  kids ministry leader, or even a parent, this may be something that can help.  When I was teaching there was something we called ‘classroom management’. I know that you may be in a small group/classroom setting, or you may be in a large group setting, but either way, the principles are the same.

Classroom management (sometimes behavior management) is something that I learned over several years of trial and error. It was a skill that I often make use of in parenting and also in a ministry setting.   A key to remember is the more you are able to identify and reinforce positive behavior, the less you need to try to discourage negative behavior. Most of the time the kids will want to imitate the positive behavior you are rewarding, because they like the reward and affirmation.

In ministry settings I have often divided the group into 2 teams, usually boys against girls.  This may or may not work in your setting, and if it doesn’t you still should be able to find a way to adapt these ideas.

Zonk Board:

This is large felt board with large felt circles. On the back of the circles are various point values. When you want to reinforce a positive behavior you can allow the child to choose a circle. Add the points to that team’s total. On the back of two circles put a ZONK, which means no points are awarded. (see the photo)

Continue reading

What is Family Ministry?

“Dad, will Gilligan be in heaven?” my daughter recently asked as Gilligan was laying on his back and she was scratching his belly.  Gilligan is the family dachshund.  She loves him, and he tolerates her, though he is playing with her more as she is getting older.  She is a huge animal lover, and I would not be surprised if she is a veterinarian when she grows up.  It makes sense that she would be concerned with his eternal welfare.

“I’m not sure, that is something we will find out when we get there.”

That seemed to pacify her for a moment, but then she continued her thoughts.  “If he does go to heaven, I hope I am there to see him.” Continue reading

3 reasons you should attend CM Leaders Conference

September 13-14, 2012 marks the beginning of something new.  It is the first ever CM Leaders Conference (CM=children’s ministry) .  For any of you involved in children’s ministry, you understand that your ministry is different from any other ministry in the church.  You face many difficulties and issues that are unique to children’s ministry.  While it would be great to attend a general ministry conference, CM Leaders Conference is not only designed specifically for those of us involved with children’s ministry, but will go a step further to discuss the leadership aspect within our ministry.


Michael Chanley and his INCM team (International Network of Children’s Ministry) are behind the new conference.

“Everything INCM does stems from our purpose statement: serve | serve | serve. Simply put, we exist to serve God and to serve those called to serve His children. The CM Leaders Conference exists to serve the church by training those called to serve in Children’s Ministry in the arts of leadership specific to our calling.

This new event builds onto the Five Initiatives we launched at CPC:

1.   Impart God’s truth to this generation

2.   Provide a safe and relevant environment

3.   Communicate with families

4.   Network with a community of leaders

5.   Pray for the international children’s ministry community.” Continue reading

Something I learned about ministry while watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies (London 2012)

Some things I learned from the Opening Ceremonies:

  • Great Britain is proud of their health care system.
  •  James Bond really does know the Queen (who does have a sense of humor!)


  • Mary Poppins can do in a few minutes what took Harry Potter many years and many movies to accomplish.
  •  The Industrial Revolution is very important in British history.
  • Mr Bean can play the piano.


I walk away smiling at some of these things, and scratching my head at others.

The biggest WOW for me was to learn that the entire show cost more than $42 million.  Don’t get me wrong, forging the Olympic was impressive.  The hill turned out to be pretty cool too.  I enjoyed the fireworks display, and the copper leaves turning into the Olympic flame was very cool.  But I learned something else.

Being from ‘across the pond,’ I don’t think I fully understood some of the elements of the show (like the giant baby, or the hospital bed trampolines).  And I am not alone.  I read many articles the following day expressing the same lack of understanding.

For me, one of the highlights was Mr Bean playing the piano in the orchestra.  As I read different news columns and watched the twitter feed, over and over I saw I was not alone in counting the “Chariots of Fire” bit among the best elements of the entire show.

Considering $42 million for the total event, I would imagine the Mr Bean scene would account for very little of the total.  But yet it was one of the highlights.  So what else did I learn?

Money does not guarantee success.  If you have read many of my other posts and thoughts, you know that I often relate my thoughts to the church world of ministry.  The ministry with the most money is not always the most successful.   While it is true, more money can buy a giant baby, but if that baby confuses people, then was it successful?

I am like many people, and often wonder what it would be like to have more money to do bigger things.  The Opening Ceremony made me stop and think.  It would be better to have more Mr Bean aspects of ministry than giant babies and industrial revolutions.  Not only was Mr Bean cheaper, he was also more effective and more memorable.  That is important in ministry.  Do people walk away thinking about what they just saw/heard?  Success does not always follow money.  I say stop focusing on the money and big shows of the church down the street and start focusing on your strengths and gifts and push forward to be successful with what you have, and not worry about what you don’t have.

I have a feeling God has given you everything you need to be successful when ministering to the people/kids in your care.  Do your best where you are with what you have, and leave the giant babies to the Opening Ceremonies.

What do you think?  How does money (or lack of) affect your ministry?  What did you think of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics?