If You Can Teach Children You Can Teach Anyone.
By Guest Blogger: Nick Covanes
I have heard it said on numerous occasions now that, “If you can teach childrens church, you can teach anyone.” I get it. Children are such that they don’t pull any punches when it comes to messages that are boring to them. I had a class of students from 3rd Grade to 5th grade, and got into teaching some stuff that was not the most exciting and two of my students actually turned around in their chairs and faced the wall. Ha! But we are taught when we speak in public settings, “Know your audience.” And so I asked the students to turn around and join the class, and said to them, “let me explain it to you in a different way…” and I began to act out the scene using a deep voice for one character and a falsetto voice to portray the other character. This got some laughs, but allowed me to capture their attention and engage them once again, but more to the point, it enabled me to reach them in a way that I was obviously failing at previously.
Now as I contemplate this strategy, I am thinking, what part does the Holy Spirit play in teaching. I recall my dear “Grandfather in Christ,” the late, great, Pastor Chuck Smith saying (paraphrased), “If you make a big production, you have to continue keeping up the big production, instead, simply teach the Word simply.” And wouldn’t you know it… the next time we got together for class, one of my students said, “Act it out again!” Apparently that was a big hit. And quite frankly I enjoyed having fun with them in that way, but I am not an actor…I just love to teach the Word of God. And so I ask what role the Holy Spirit has in this simply because I don’t want to be the center of attention, I want the WORD to be.
I suppose this will be a dilemma in any setting, whether it be with children, teenagers (who you practically have to blow something up to get their attention) and adults. The responsibility for keeping an audience engaged has to fall on all parties involved: the teacher, the audience and the Holy Spirit. But at what point do you put the onus on the listener? I suppose that there is a degree of balance that comes with more experience, and I am not the most experienced speaker, yet I would be willing to bet that some of the great, most prolific orators in history have dealt with similar frustrations in teaching.
What I find even more interesting as I teach children the WORD, is that my love for them increases every time I engage them with the WORD. I used to joke around and say, “I am not sure why the LORD has me teaching kids…I don’t even like my own kids.” But I understand that it is not anything I am doing for the kids, as if I am somebody skilled in the art of teaching the WORD. God is using this, I believe, more for me than them anyways. There are so many rough edges in my own life that the LORD is chipping away at, and teaching children seems to be the best place for me in this season of my life. I have moved from sensing a calling on my life to teach to knowing that it is inevitable, and yet I feel quite content waiting on the LORD. Instead of viewing my role as childrens minster as a hurdle that I have to overcome in order to one day be a pastor, I view it as an opportunity to hear from the LORD about areas in my own life that need to be molded and conformed into His image before He will use me. In the process, I am learning that I need to have more compassion for those I serve, I need to look at every “bandaid clad boo-boo” as something really big in the life of the individual.
As a result I have grown closer to my own children, I have been able to become more sensitive with both real and percieved troubles of others, and I have been ministered to by the experience.
So in summation, I have to say, “If you can teach children you can teach anyone, but what you find in the final analysis is the one who is being taught is me.”
[Mat 19:14 NKJV]
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”