Think Outside the Stage
Think outside the stage. Most of us probably teach/preach our lessons to the kids in a similar way or spot each week. I know some communicators who love to teach standing in one spot with notes, others who like to pace back and forth across the stage, and some who prefer sitting on a stool or chair when they teach. Which one are you? I'm the pacer for sure, but one thing all of us have in common is that we teach primarily in the center of a stage. There is nothing wrong with that, but lately I have been switching things up in some of my lessons. I have been challenging myself to "think outside the stage" for a change.
For example, when we were learning about Nehemiah going to inspect the walls in Jerusalem at night, instead of just telling the kids about it, I got off of the stage and picked a few kid volunteers. I had the lights turned down, and walked around the room with a flashlight to "inspect the city". A couple of weeks ago, I taught the kids about a Bible story where Jesus was walking walking and teaching his disciples. I chose some "disciples" and actually walked around the kids who were seated, teaching the "disciples" and the kids in the audience. Last week I taught the kids about Jesus feeding the 5,000. In the Bible, it talks about Jesus going up on a mountain to teach the people while they sat around him. So instead of teaching the kids from the center of the stage while the kids sat in their seats, I moved to one of our side stage pieces that is raised up higher than the center stage. I sat on the edge of the stage with all of the kids around me on the floor and taught them just as Jesus had in the story.
So, why change things up? Why should we think outside the stage?
1. It Gets Their Attention
You aren't going to be able to change things up every week, but if you do it often enough, kids will always be wondering what you are going to do next. It keeps them guessing, and excited to come to church each week to hear the lesson. Who knows what could happen? Kids are easily distracted and lose focus if we are always teaching them in the exact same spot and style every week. When you change the way you teach and do something unexpected, you've got their attention.
2. It Brings the Lesson to Life
When we get off the stage and involve the kids in the lesson, it brings the lesson to life for them. Don't just tell the kids about the Bible story, get out there and live it with them. Not every lesson lends itself to this, but if it does, don't miss out on making the lesson come to life for your kids. Remember, just hearing the lesson only stimulates one sense. Try to find ways to stimulate as many of the senses as possible when you teach, so you can teach a lesson your kids will never forget.
3. It Pushes You Out of Your Comfort Zone
As I said before, most of us have a way we prefer to teach. If you are a pacer like me, thinking outside the stage will probably be easier for you, but will still take some getting used to. If you like to sit or stand in one spot, this will be a challenge for you, but it's worth it. You will really get your kids' attention when you move out of your normal space, and think outside the stage. Either way, it helps you grow as a communicator.
What are you doing to "think outside the stage" in your ministry? How are you engaging the kids and bringing your lessons to life?