TEACHING TO THE SENSES
REV. DAVID MOREHEAD
ATLANTIC KIDS CONVENTION – 11.8.14
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS WORKSHOP
When connecting with children during a service I feel it’s best to utilize the five senses (Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch). People use their senses to find out about their surroundings and themselves. Different senses give different information.
Senses are so powerful that Disney has begun producing 4D film’s combining a 3D film with physical effects that occur in the theatre in synchronization with the film. Effects simulated in a 4D film may include rain, wind, strobe lights, and vibration. Seats in 4D venues may vibrate or move a few inches during the presentations. Other common chair effects include air jets, water sprays, and leg and back ticklers. Hall effects may include smoke, rain, lightning, air bubbles, and smell.
A popular quote that is easy to find online says “We learn… 10 percent of what we read, 20 percent of what we hear, 30 percent of what we see, 50 percent of what we see and hear, 70 percent of what we discuss with others, 80 percent of what we experience, and 95 percent of what we teach to someone.”
Visuals are extremely important while communicating with children. I will share three strategies to help you to SHOW a bigger picture to your children:
A) PROPS – I use props as a tangible component to my messages. If we can see something and touch something, we tend to remember it more. Scripture is full of metaphors and word pictures that that you can accentuate with a prop. The New Testament talks about salt, light, clay, animals, houses, trees, bread, fishes, coins, boats, and numerous other items. When applicable don’t only tell people about these stories, “SHOW” them these stories.
B) VIDEO CLIPS – Videos are very captivating and can be very helpful to break the ice in the beginning or a sobering moment when you are bringing a message to its conclusion. Follow these guidelines for video clip success: 1) You must check with your pastor on how he feels about using media in your services. 2) Never, show media you have not previewed yourself personally. I know this sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised. 3) Search the Internet for free video clips. You can find a lot of free stuff out there.
C) PRESENTATION SOFTWARE – Any type of visual media you use will enhance your message. I personally place all of my notes, Scriptures, media and sound clips, and pictures in the presentation so I can remain hands free. Students are a great resource to help you with this. I have students who know media programs better than I do, and they have been a big help. Your students would probably be glad to help you build your media if you ask them. It helps you and is a great ministry opportunity for them.” Great resources for graphics are www.gracewaymedia.com and www.sermonslide.com.
A) PREACH – Preaching is the communication of the Gospel from a speaker to a hearer. This can be done in many exciting ways. You can preach in exciting tones, cadences and rhythms. You can preach in story form, use accents and even dress as a Bible Character.
B) MUSIC – You can play music during your preaching and teaching in communication and certain songs can relay messages to the kids much more powerfully then we can do. For instance, once while preaching on the empowerment of the Holy Ghost, I talked about how we need a Superhero and we discussed superheroes, so I started playing theme songs of these Superheroes: SpongeBob Square Pants, Superman, Batman, Inspector Gadget and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I kept asking the kids if these Super heroes could save you (They would shout NO!), then I played “Jesus You’re my Superhero.” The kids cheer wildly then sing the song.
C) SOUND EFFECTS – You can use sounds effects to spice up your Kidz preaching. There is a great app called “Big Sounds” that you can have a lot of fun with. Consider the story of Good Friday adapted from YouVersion for Kids with sounds added in: “The religious leaders told the governor, Pilate, that Jesus was dangerous and wanted to be king. Pilate asked Jesus, “Is this true?” “I am king,” Jesus answered, “but not of this world.” “Jesus is innocent,” said Pilate. “There’s no reason to kill Him. I will set Him free. But the crowd shouted (SCREAM), “Kill Him!” So Pilate had his soldiers whip (WHIP) They forced a thorny crown on His head. Then they laid a wooden cross on His back and led Him up a hill. They are on that hill, the Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross, hands and feet. Then they raised it high. Jesus hung there between two criminals. Around noon, the sky turned dark. Jesus’ friends wept. The religious leaders laughed (LAUGH TRACK) and said, “You saved other people. Why can’t You save Yourself?” Forgive them, Father,” said Jesus. When the time came for Jesus to die, He closed His eyes and said, “It is finished.” He had completed what He had come to do because of His great love. One of Jesus’ followers, a man named Joseph, put Jesus’ body in a brand new tomb. He rolled a huge stone in front of it. A long sad Friday was over.”
Smells can be a powerful and poignant way to convey Biblical truth and create a memorable experience. Consider how these smells spark the imagination:
A) JONAH IN THE WHALE – A friend recently told me of a lesson where the teacher created a large whale out of black plastic. The kids were then placed in the bell of the whale. Teachers opened cans of sardines and turned on fans, blowing the smell into the belly of the whale. This gave a unique sensation of ACTUALLY being in the belly of the whale!
B) LAZARUS IN THE TOMB – Mark 11:39 tells us, “Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” You could make a tomb out of a cardboard box and put a couple dozen rotten eggs in the tomb to give the kids a real sense of the smell of death.
A) TASTE –If you are teaching about Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes, you can serve your children goldfish crackers and bread. Psalms 119:103 states, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” You could have kids taste honey to remember the sweetness of God’s Word. While teaching about Josephs’s brothers coming to Egypt for food during famine you could set up a party to represent the feast. You could use any kind of party food or candy to represent the land of plenty.
B) SPONTANEOUS MELODRAMAS – These are exciting impromptu skits that you do with the children. There are premiered resources for this, but you centurion anything into a melodrama. I often use Acts 1 & 2 as a mallard to preach about the Holy Ghost. I explain to the kids that they are going to make whatever actions and sounds that I make. For instance, Acts 1:4 And, being assembled TOGETHER (HAVE KIDS GROUP TOGETHER) with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but WAIT (POINT AT WATCH) for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard (CUP YOUR EAR) of me. For John truly baptized with water (USE HAND TO COVER NOSE); but ye shall be baptized (USE HAND TO COVER NOSE) with the Holy Ghost (PRAISE THE LORD) not many days hence. 8. But ye shall receive power (SHOUT BOOM), after that the Holy Ghost (PRAISE THE LORD) is come upon you: and ye shall be WITNESSES (WHISPER TO NEIGHBOR) unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
C) CALL BACKS – Call-and-response is a time-tested and fun technique for getting attention. The one that I have embodied in my ministry is WHOOP! WHOOP! I will be speaking and I will shout out WHOOP! WHOOP! and kids will respond WHOOP! WHOOP! There are countless ones that you can do with kids for instance you say, “Hocus Pocus” and kids respond, “Time to focus!” Or you call, “To infinity” with kids coming back with “And beyond!” If you need a classroom management technique, you can say, “Hands on top” and the children say “Everybody stop!” [while putting both hands on head]. I love to shout, “AIN’T NO PARTY!” with the kids responding “LIKE A HOLY GHOST PARTY” and I say “BECAUSE A HOLY GHOST PARTY” and the kids will finish it with “DON’T STOP! UGH!”
A) HANDMOTIONS – I preach a children’s message on repentance that three action points. The first point of repentance is REMOVE. I have all of the kids take their IMAGINARY SHOVEL and on the count of three we shovel our sins over our shoulder. For the reset of the sermon overtime I say REMOVE, we make this action. The next point of repentance is REPLACE. We then reach over to the left and take God’s GIFT OF GRACE and place it where our sins once rested. Again, this action is duplicated overtime I say the word REPLACE. Finally, with the act of repentance we must REFLECT on our life and see what needs to be corrected. At this point we put our THINKING CAP Everyone places their hats on. Some put them on correctly, backwards or even tilted to the side. The kids enjoy the actions throughout the sermon and they wait for the words. I’ll have fun and trick them and try to keep them guessing about what word I will use next. They stay focused on the message.
B) TAKEAWAYS – One of my favorite things to do will speaking is to give children a “take-away” to take home with them. For me a “take-away” is anything that can be placed in a child’s hand as they leave the service to illustrate the spiritual point you are trying to make. You can use the following household items to make a lasting impression: PLASTIC BAGS to seal in your blessing, BOUNCE DRYER SHEETS to keep the “bounce” in your spiritual walk, Strips of DUCT TAPE to symbolize students’ commitment, ADMISSION TICKETS to show admission in God’s Kingdom is worth the price and LIGHT BULBS for students to discover the vision God has for their lives.
John Gordon – I am a teacher Pledge
I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students and school.
I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.
I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism.
When I feel fear I will choose faith.
When I want to hate I will choose love.
When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better.
When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow and help others grow. When faced with adversity I will find strength.
When I experience a set-back I will be resilient.
When I meet failure I will fail forward and create a future success.
With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always find ways to make a difference.
I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.
I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes my students better.
So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on my students, school and the world.