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5 Steps to Successfully Relate to Kids

A guest post by John Wilson

You can have the most elaborate skits and decorations, the craziest music and the greatest lesson of all time.  Those things are all important, but I have news for you.  If you are not able to truly relate to the children you are teaching, you will never maximize the potential of your ministry.

5.  Be real. 

Do not pretend to be something you are not.  Kids have an amazing ability to see when people are genuine.  If you have staff members that do not like to work with children, you might have to “let them go”.  I know that staffing can be the biggest challenge many of us face, but God will bless you and your willingness to do what is ultimately best for the children.

4. Think like a kid. 

Just because you are over 30 years-old and you like to have fun doesn’t mean that you truly are thinking like a kid.  As adults we are constantly keeping things in perspective based on time.  We can understand the concepts of what an hour, day, week, month, year and decade actually is.  To many children, especially those 10 and younger, the day they are living through is the most important day.  Do not lose sight of that as you spend time with them and teach them.  What is simply an hour and a half on a typical Sunday in the middle of the year for us could be the biggest day in the life of a child.

3.  Watch them. 

See how they respond to different teaching styles and types of music.  You might find that a slow worship song the children have heard in the “main service” might be exactly what you need to play in order to get your children to respond to prayer time.

2.  Talk to them. 

Don’t be afraid to ask the children their opinion about a recent format change or anything else that might affect them.  Be careful about doing this as a large group however, since dominant personalities tend to get their opinions heard, while some of the children chose to stay silent.

1.  Know what they know. 

You need to have some sort of idea of the things that are in current pop culture and on television.  If you make reference to a childhood cartoon that was on 10, 15, 20 or more years ago, the children will stop paying attention to you almost immediately.  They either will not understand the reference or they will immediately see you as an “old person” that is out of touch.  I’m not saying to watch Nick and Disney all day long, but an hour a week worth of “research” could be exactly what your ministry is missing!


John has been working in children’s ministry for almost a decade and has served as the Children’s Minister at Christian Life Center for 3 years.  It is his burden and he has a passion for it! John has been married for over 10-years to an amazing woman and have four awesome little children (3 boys and a baby girl).  He recently earned his BS in Marketing and is a current Graduate student at Franklin University working towards earning his Masters in Communications and Marketing.  He also works full time for a small electric, natural gas and propane cooperative as his day job!
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Greg Baird is a Children’s Ministry veteran with over 20 years ministry experience. Greg has had the privilege of serving in four San Diego area churches, including under the leadership of both John Maxwell and David Jeremiah. He continues to fulfill his life calling through the ministry of ChildrensMinistryLeader.com, offering an experienced voice in equipping and connecting Children’s Ministry leaders around the country and around the world.