Okay don’t hate me but Nickelodeon inspires me, or at least it used to.
You know the channel I’m talking about, the one where everything is geared to kids and there short attention span, or least it was. Now I know fully that Nickelodeon is about as holy as the MTV channel but nevertheless, kids watch it. I wondered why, so I have (sporadically) done some research on this channel over the years and I have noted a few things. It’s not the glossy logos and the wacky storylines that keep kids coming back, not alone anyway. There are some teaching methods hidden in the programming that makes the product so attractive to kids. So what lessons can a children’s pastor or minister learn from Nickelodeon?
1. The service needs a soundtrack. From the beginning to the end, children’s church needs a soundtrack. The good news is kids like repetition so you can use the same soundtrack over and over again. Start with a hopping welcome song that plays while kids assemble. Include background songs for games and even songs for the altar time. Your children’s church needs a soundtrack.
2. Kids want to be teens. I have to sad news to report. Most kids, don’t want to grow up to be you or I. Kids tend to emulate teens, people closer to their ages. Watch a group of children as they view a Nickelodeon program. It’s always the shows that have teens or preteens in them that gain the most popularity. Implement teens into your service; give them speaking and teaching roles, even if they are just small ones. Kids need to see teens that serve and love God.
3. Commercial breaks break up the monotony. If you’ve ever attended one of my conferences you’ve probably heard me say, “Teach in chunks.” Take a tip from Nick and Nick Jr. Break up the program into interesting programs. After praise and worship, I begin with a topical presentation like an object lesson or a puppet. Next it’s a team game, bible game and then the first part of the lesson. Each part carries to me a different part of the room or involves some type of change of scenery. Teach in chunks of time!
4. You need excited announcers. Another way to keep the service exciting and moving along is to use announcers. I found some cartoon inspired announcements on iTunes that I downloaded. Phrases like, “Meanwhile, back at the lab,” or “Now back to our program” are great for transitioning kids to the next segment Nickelodeon style.
5. Plan something messy. Okay, if you haven’t been slimed in children’s church yet, you aren’t doing it right. (I’m just kidding.) However, as a member of the “I’ve been slimed club,” I must say it really excited kids to see me get drenched (even though I wore a poncho and hat). Plan messy activities, don’t be afraid to be gross with food object lessons. Even if you can’t reasonably include kids in the messy activity they will have fun watching the adults get messy.
Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.