Recently, I was talking with a children's ministry leader and she told me the kids were saying the lessons are boring.
Let me let you in on a little secret. When a kid says a lesson is boring...it probably is.
If you want to know if your lessons are boring...ask the kids.
You can do this by having a round table discussion with a group of 6-8 kids. Ask them about the parts of your service and which ones they are bored with. Make it anonymous, so the kids won't feel pressure to answer a certain way because they want to please you. You need to hear the truth, whether it's positive or negative.
Here are some proven ways you can make sure you won't hear kids saying the lessons are boring...
Stop talking so much. When it comes to boring lessons, this is the #1 culprit. If you are trying to use talking to keep kids' engaged for 15-20 minutes, you are setting yourself up for failure. Talking should not last more than 5 minutes at a time.
Involve kids in the lesson. When kids have to sit still, they get bored and easily distracted. Get them up and moving during the lesson. Have them be the Bible characters. Have the rest of the kids be sound effects. Get every one involved.
Honor kids' attention spans. So here is the biggie. Honor kids' attention spans which is 5 minutes max. For preschoolers it can be even less, like 2-3 minutes. Look at your entire classroom time not as 60 minutes. Rather look at your classroom time as being 12 x 5 minute sessions.
Play games that have a purpose. A quick way to wake a child up from boredom, is to play a fun and engaging game. Play several games each week. Make sure to involve as many kids as possible and have the game tie into the lesson.
Sing worship songs that are age-appropriate and fun to sing. I'm not sure why...but from what I have observed in my travels...we are trying to make kids sing adult worship songs. Watch the kids during your worship time. How many are actually singing? How many are distracted because there are too many motions to try to copy? How many are being asked to sing words that are over their head?
In my opinion, we need to bring back some of the old school songs that kids sang 10 years or so ago.
These are songs that are written for kids and that engage kids and gets them singing. Songs like...
Come and Go With Me to My Father's House
I Get Down and He Lifts Me Up
Every Move I Make
Jesus, Be the Center of My Life
Use video...but not too much. It's okay to have a 5 to 8 minute at a time video segment but I recommend not going over that. Kids have video messaging and ads coming at them non-stop now. A full lesson on video can be too much of a good thing and kids get bored with it . Especially when the video is of someone just talking.
Watch the kids' reactions. When kids get bored, they look away. Watch and make a note of when kids start looking away. Go back and tweak that part(s) of the service.
We have the most exciting, engaging lesson ever presented to mankind - Jesus and His plan of salvation. The best lesson deserves the best presentation.
I have often heard people say, "I'm not going to church, because I was made to go as a child." Think about this - you don't have to make someone go where they want to be. Their memory of church is that it was not relevant, not fun and boring.
I've never heard anyone say, "I'm not going to Disney World because I was made to go as a child." Why not? Because it was an exciting, fun place to go.
My prayer is that we will give our very best to creating environments where kids will walk out with a smile on their face and God's Word placed in their thoughts.
Your turn. What do you think causes kids to say a ministry is boring? What insight or advice can you give to someone to make the experience at their church one that causes kids to drag their parents to services? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.