Teaching Kids Like the Master

It has been said many times before, and by people more gifted than I am, but it is so important, it needs to be said again: Jesus is the Master Teacher, and we can learn so much from studying the life and teachings of Christ. In the Gospels, the words “Jesus taught” appear 45 times, and 46 times Jesus is referred to as “teacher.” Whether you are a parent of teenagers, a teacher of preschoolers or a grandparent, you can learn from the example set by Jesus as you reach those God has intentionally placed in your life who look to you for guidance, whether they realize it or not.

We can learn from Jesus’ characteristics as the Master Teacher and incorporate them into our own lives so we can become better examples ourselves.

Jesus came from God, and as such, He was called and empowered by the Holy Spirit. As John 7:16-17 says: “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”

Jesus prayed daily, and He specifically prayed for those He taught: “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours” (John 17:9). Jesus turned to prayer, knowing those who crossed His path were put there by His Father for a purpose.

Jesus loved the children, and He never turned them away but took joy in having them come to Him willingly and enthusiastically. He demonstrated His love and care for them, and He recognized they possessed something pure and good in their humility: “ ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me’ ” (Matthew 18:2-5).

Jesus employed variety and creativity in His teaching methods. He told stories, lectured, led discussions, asked questions, used life situations and met one-on-one with people in order to best reach and teach everyone. He is my ultimate example for teaching with variety, creativity and, yes, even learning styles in mind.

Jesus utilized teachable moments. He found unique opportunities to teach that others may have missed, and He did not let teachable moments slip away when they presented themselves to Him.  As seen in His encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus’ teaching was timely as well as timeless.

More than anything, Jesus believed in what He was teaching. Everything He did or said came from His foundation in God’s Word and God’s message to all people. His life modeled what He taught, as He truly walked the walked unlike any figure in history before or after Him. And He called us to do the same: “ ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men’ ” (Mark 1:17).

This means we cannot simply sit back or give up, thinking Jesus did it better than I can, so why try. Our calling is the same as His: to teach and reach those who come across our path, whether family or friends, students or colleagues, young or old, so the Holy Spirit can begin transforming their lives from within.  

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jodycapehart@churchleaders.com'
Jody Capehart has more than 40 years' experience as a children's minister. She's the co-author of The Discipline Guide for Children's Ministry and the author of numerous other books. She currently teaches Sunday School at Stonebriar Community Church.