Classic Teaching Principles for Children’s Ministry

I recently had the opportunity to attend a seminar on Creative Bible Teaching at the National Youth Workers’ Convention.  Though the seminar was structured to meet the needs of junior high and high school teachers, there was a considerable amount of information that was transferrable to those who work in children’s ministry.

The following is a list of seven classic teaching principles, compiled by Marv Penner.  As we apply these principles in our specific ministry contexts, may our students grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in accordance with 2 Peter 3:18.

The Seven Laws of Teaching:

1.   The Law of the Teacher: Teachers must know what it is they teach.

If it hasn’t been run through our own lives, it will sound and feel hollow and lifeless.

2. The Law of the Learner: The learner must be interested in the truth to be learned.

If we’re answering questions kids aren’t asking, we’ll just be wasting our time!

3.  The Law of Language: The language used must be common to the teacher and the learner.

If we use big words, “baggage heavy” words, or “Christian-ese” kids may not get it!

4.  The Law of the Lesson: The truth to be taught must be learned through knowledge already  taught.

If they haven’t learned the basics, the new stuff won’t make any sense.  In other words, don’t assume children know the basics.

5.  The Law of the Teaching Process: We learn best what we discover for ourselves.

If we spoon-feed, students will never learn to self-feed.  The whole point is to teach self-feeding.

6.   The Law of the Learning Process: The truth learned must be reproduced in the life of the student.

If they only get head knowledge, they haven’t learned a thing.  It’s all about the “So what?” and “Now what?”

7.   The Law of Review and Application: The best way to build retention is through review and application with accountability.

If there’s no accountability, there’s not much motivation to own and live the truth.

Would you add any teaching principles to this list?  If so, please include them in the comments here.  Thanks!


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