One day my Mom came home from a church event and told me “Your Sunday School teacher said you were a sweetheart.” Warm and fuzzy feelings filled my heart, and I never forgot that moment.
For better or worse children’s workers make a lasting impression on kids. As we form relationships with children at church, school, or during after school activities, there are three things we must do to build and strengthen the spiritual side of things.
1. Get to know them. This may sound obvious but in order to have a relationship with someone you must first get to know them. And simply put, there are no shortcuts to this.
Make an effort to give undivided attention. If a child approaches you while you are setting up for the lesson, pause for a moment and engage one-on-one with him. This is not the time to show case your multi-tasking expertise.
Prepare adequately ahead of time so that you don’t feel rushed to finish everything right before the start of class. This will allow more time for relationship building while with the kids in your classroom.
Listen and ask open ended questions. For example, instead of saying “How are you?” you could ask “What’s your favorite thing you’ve done so far today?” I love the insights into kids’ personalities that I get from creative open ended questions.
2. Let them get to know you. Genuine relationship building requires reciprocity. Don’t unleash a mountain of trivia but do share a bit about yourself, your family, your interests, and how your faith has made a difference in your life.
Show your true self. Let them know you are not perfect. We all make mistakes and admitting this helps us be more approachable.
Share your story. Don’t be afraid of sharing your testimony and talking about how you came to Christ.
3. Help them get to know God. The essential to a spiritual relationship is of course God.
Talk about Jesus. In natural conversation talk about how knowing Christ has made a difference.
Talk about the Bible. Key concepts to convey are that the Bible is God’s Word, the Bible is true, and the Bible is the primary way God talks to us.
Share the Gospel. Explain the gospel in terms children can understand on a consistent basis. Advocate annual evangelism training in your church for all children’s workers. One way to do this is through EvanTell’s free online training.
Pray. Remember to pray with and for each child. Also, let them hear you pray out loud for them.