One of the skills children’s pastors acquire over the years is the ability to turn any ordinary household item into a passion filled awe inspiring object lesson.
I am a huge fan of using objects to teach truth to kids. I believe every time you stand in front of kids you should have some object that helps take an idea from an etherial idea to a concrete value resulting in a tangible action they can do this week because of what the saw, heard and experienced.
Why are objects so important when talking to kids?
1. They help all the kids in the room have a shared context. When you talk about something to kids they all have a different mental picture or idea of what you are talking about based on their life experience. When you show them what are talking about they all have a shared contexts and it helps demonstrate and cement truth in their minds. When done the right way it goes a long way to help them focus on your content.
2. Jesus did it. Jesus was the master communicator he created the human mind and understands, based on how our brains work that truth inside an object or story gives that truth “handles” so that it is easily remembered and can be retold with a much greater level of accuracy.
3. It builds excitement and anticipation. Kids see the object and wonder what it has to do with what we are learning today.
4. It helps kids work back from the object to the principle you are communicating.
3 Tips for Using Object Lessons
1. Practice. There is nothing worse than someone on stage fumbling with the object that is supposed to help you bring home truth.
2. Start with the bible and think of an object that will help you teach the bible. This is a huge pet peeve for me. I talked about it here. I hate it when people find a cool prop or neat science experiment and use the bible as a prop so you can do your cool experiment for the kids. Start with truth and then think how can you illustrate this truth to the audience you will be speaking to.
3. Plan alternate endings. I learned this the hard way. I always try to think of how I will illustrate my bible story if the object lesson doesn’t work, or if a kid for instance picks the bitter chocolate and tells the other kids it tastes great. Your story goes down in smoke don’t let that happen plan alternate endings.
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