I started teaching Sunday school when I was sixteen. I loved teaching children then and I still do.
Children are receptive. The Bible tells us to train a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6). Just because we train them, doesn’t mean that they will make the choice to embrace that training, but our responsibility is to do the teaching. As D.L. Moody is famously quoted: If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God!” By being in children’s ministry, I am on the frontline.
Children are energetic. Sometimes we might think they have too much energy, but just think if we could channel that energy into good? What if that squirrely little boy someday uses that energy to start a new mission’s initiative? Or that bouncy little girl someday designs biblically-based software for parents? God made them full of energy – our job is to direct them to use it wisely.
Children want attention. They like to be noticed … and how fun is it to give them a compliment or high five and have their faces crinkle into a room-brightening smile?
Children are honest. You know what they are thinking. You don’t have to guess if they liked the lesson. They’ll tell you. Unlike adults who put on a façade of pleasantness, kids don’t let you get away with anything. But that’s good. No guessing whether or not they’re hiding their true feelings.
Children are forgiving. Yes, they didn’t like the snack and let you know by their scrunched-up faces and their very loud “Ewwwwww,” but by next week they’ve forgotten and enthusiastically chow down on the offered food. Unlike many adults, they don’t hold grudges.
Children are curious. When you tell them that the Israelites walked many miles – they want to know how long, whether they were tired and what they had to eat. Many adults are curious, too, but too often adults tune you out. They’ve heard that story before and aren’t interested in studying it further. You can learn a lot preparing for a kids’ lesson.
Children are funny. Like fall-off-your-chair-laughing funny. (Insert your own funny story here.)
Children are wide-eyed listeners. You do your part to be enthusiastic and interesting and the children will totally be with you. They aren’t planning dinner or worrying about work or texting – they’re listening to what you’re saying.
Children have a different perspective. They come up with unique takes on what you’re saying. Like when I was talking about God creating us and a 6-year-old announced with breathtaking awe – “And He didn’t even need to put a battery inside of us.”
Or the night I had to unexpectedly review David and Goliath for first and second graders. One little boy asked what a slingshot was. A first grader called out, “Have you ever played Angry Birds®?” What better explanation than that?
Children want to help. Children enjoy being part of projects. Whether it’s collecting food for a food bank or stacking chairs out after class – they want to be part of it.