How to Lead a Pre-School Bible Program

It is unfortunate that young children, especially ages 3-5, are taught in a way that needs to be untaught as they mature.

  • There is not a tiny person named Jesus that wants to live inside of a blood-pumping muscle in your chest.
  • There is not a holey ghost in the Bible.
  • There are no talking vegetables in the Bible.
  • When a person dies, they do not move to a floating golden castle in the clouds.
  • Prayer is not primarily asking God to give us stuff that we want.


Here are some tips on working with younger students.

  1. Communicate with language that is concrete and literal rather than metaphors and symbolism. Use stories that are easily understood and relatable to the students’ experiences in life. For example, when talking about transformation, tell a story about a boy who changed his attitude and behavior rather than telling a story about a caterpillar and a butterfly.
  2. Stay age-appropriate. Think like a child would think. Stay simple and concise. Repeat and reinforce ideas in creative ways. Young children should be learning primarily that God made them and that God loves them. They should not be learning stuff that is inappropriate for children. Think from the children’s perspective. Use objects and events that are familiar to children in order to help them grasp concepts. Tell stories about sharing toys or putting toys away in order to help them understand friendship, kindness, cooperation, responsibility, etc.
  3. Use visual aids. Hold up an interesting object. Show a poster or banner. Draw a shape. Display an image. However, don’t go into a complex explanation of how the object is a metaphor for an intangible concept. For example, hold up an apple and tell a story about the boy who loved the taste of apples. Don’t hold up an apple and teach that the apple is symbolic for Eve’s disobedience to God.
  4. Play. Reinforce the lesson with activities and experiences that reinforce the concept of the lesson. Allow children to explore and engage with the concept in a tangible and meaningful method.
  5. Be aware of learning styles. Remember that your group is composed of individuals. Some students may grasp the lesson concept easily, some will not. Some may learn through listening, others through images, others through activity and play. Adapt to individual learning styles while keeping the entire group in focus.

Overall, metaphors and symbolism should be used sparingly and thoughtfully with preschoolers to introduce or reinforce certain concepts. Ensure that the metaphors are age-appropriate, relatable, and supported with visuals and concrete examples. Keep in mind that young children primarily learn through direct experiences, play, and hands-on activities, so metaphors and symbolism should complement and enhance their learning in a meaningful way.


Here are suggestions for techniques and methods.

  1. Play-based learning: Use play as a central component of your teaching approach. Incorporate games, pretend play, and hands-on activities that allow children to explore, experiment, and learn through their natural curiosity. Play-based learning promotes engagement, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
  2. Multi-sensory experiences: Engage multiple senses during lessons to enhance learning and retention. Use sensory materials like sand, water, clay, or textured objects for tactile exploration. Incorporate music, rhythm, and movement to stimulate auditory and kinesthetic learning. Combine visuals, such as colorful images or charts, to support visual learning.
  3. Storytelling and rhymes: Preschoolers love stories and rhymes. Utilize storytelling to introduce new concepts, morals, and values. Incorporate rhymes, songs, and fingerplays to make learning fun and memorable. Encourage children to retell stories or create their own, fostering language development and creativity.
  4. Hands-on manipulatives: Provide a variety of manipulatives, such as blocks, puzzles, counting cubes, and shape sorters. These hands-on materials promote fine motor skills, problem-solving, and mathematical concepts. Encourage children to explore and manipulate these objects during playtime or structured activities.
  5. Guided discovery: Instead of providing all the answers, guide children to discover solutions on their own. Present open-ended questions, encourage critical thinking, and support their problem-solving skills. This approach cultivates independence, confidence, and a love for learning.
  6. Cooperative learning: Encourage collaboration and teamwork by organizing group activities. Group projects, shared responsibilities, and partner activities foster social skills, communication, and cooperation. Children learn from and support each other, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
  7. Use visual supports: Visual aids play a vital role in preschool education. Utilize charts, posters, diagrams, and labeled pictures to reinforce concepts. Visual supports can enhance comprehension, vocabulary development, and memory recall.
  8. Learning centers: Set up learning centers in the classroom where children can engage in different activities independently or in small groups. Establish centers for reading, writing, art, science, dramatic play, and sensory exploration. Learning centers provide opportunities for self-directed learning and develop various skills.
  9. Outdoor education: Incorporate outdoor activities to enhance learning. Take children on nature walks, observe plants and animals, and explore the environment. Engage in physical activities like running, jumping, and playing games that develop gross motor skills and promote a healthy lifestyle.
  10. Individualized instruction: Recognize and address each child’s unique learning style and pace. Differentiate your instruction by offering various approaches, materials, and challenges to accommodate different abilities and interests. Provide additional support for those who need it and extension activities for those ready for more advanced learning.

Remember, flexibility and adaptability are crucial when teaching preschoolers. Observe and assess their interests, strengths, and areas for growth, adjusting your teaching techniques accordingly. Above all, make learning enjoyable, nurturing a love for learning that will last a lifetime.


Regaining the attention of a group of preschool children can sometimes be challenging, as their attention spans can be short. Here are some techniques to help you recapture their focus:

  1. Use a signal: Develop a consistent attention signal, such as clapping your hands, ringing a bell, or using a special phrase. Teach the children that when they hear the signal, they need to stop what they’re doing and give you their attention.
  2. Transition activities: If you notice that the children are becoming restless or distracted, incorporate transition activities to refocus their attention. These can be simple movements, songs, or chants that help them shift their energy and focus back to the task at hand.
  3. Movement breaks: Incorporate short movement breaks into your lessons. When you see their attention waning, engage them in physical activities like stretching, dancing, or playing a quick game. This can help release excess energy and re-engage their focus.
  4. Call and response: Use call and response techniques to regain attention. For example, you can say a phrase or make a sound, and the children respond by repeating it back to you. This interactive technique helps redirect their attention back to you and the lesson.
  5. Visual cues: Incorporate visual cues to capture their attention. Hold up a picture, use a prop, or display a sign that signals it’s time to pay attention. Bright and colorful visuals can quickly draw their eyes and redirect their focus.
  6. Use engaging props: Utilize props or objects related to the lesson or topic to pique their interest. For example, if you’re teaching about animals, use stuffed animals or pictures of animals to capture their attention and generate excitement.
  7. Vary your voice: Adjust the tone, volume, or speed of your voice to regain attention. If you were speaking softly, try speaking loudly, or vice versa. Changing your voice can capture their attention and re-engage their focus.
  8. Incorporate music and songs: Music has a way of capturing attention and engaging children. Integrate songs, chants, or musical cues into your lessons to refocus their attention. Singing together can help create a sense of unity and re-engage their participation.
  9. Use interactive questions: Pose questions that require a response or action from the children. For example, ask them to raise their hand, stand up, or give a thumbs-up. This active participation helps regain their attention and involvement in the lesson.
  10. Adjust the environment: Make simple adjustments to the environment to reduce distractions. Close windows or doors, dim lights, or rearrange seating if necessary. A quieter and more organized space can help children refocus on the lesson.

Remember, it’s important to be patient and understanding with preschoolers. Their attention spans naturally fluctuate, so incorporating these techniques consistently and with enthusiasm can help bring their focus back and create an engaging and positive learning environment.

Time Fillers

Here are some fun and engaging games suitable for a small group of preschool-age children:

  1. Duck, Duck, Goose: Have the children sit in a circle, and one child walks around tapping others on the head, saying “duck.” When they choose a child to be the “goose,” that child chases them around the circle. If the goose catches the tapper before they reach the empty spot, the tapper continues. If not, the goose becomes the new tapper.
  2. Simon Says: Select one child to be “Simon” who gives commands, such as “Simon says touch your nose” or “Simon says hop on one foot.” The other children must only follow the command if it starts with “Simon says.” If they do something without the phrase, they are out. The last child standing becomes the new Simon.
  3. Musical Chairs: Arrange chairs in a circle, with one less chair than the number of children. Play music and have the children walk around the chairs. When the music stops, they must quickly find a seat. Remove one chair after each round. The child left without a seat is out. Continue until only one child remains.
  4. Freeze Dance: Play upbeat music and have the children dance freely. When the music pauses, they must freeze in their current position. Anyone caught moving is out. Resume dancing until there’s one child left, or play for fun without elimination.
  5. Balloon Volleyball: Inflate a balloon and have the children stand on opposite sides of a designated space. They must hit the balloon back and forth, trying to keep it from touching the ground. Modify the rules as needed to ensure everyone can participate and enjoy the game.
  6. Scavenger Hunt: Create a simple scavenger hunt by hiding objects or pictures around a specific area. Provide the children with clues or descriptions to find each item. You can customize the hunt based on a theme, colors, or shapes to make it more engaging.
  7. Hot Potato: Sit the children in a circle and play music as they pass around a soft ball or a stuffed animal. When the music stops, the child holding the item is “out.” Continue until one child remains.
  8. Follow the Leader: Choose a child to be the leader and have them perform various actions like jumping, hopping, or twirling. The other children must imitate the leader’s actions as closely as possible. Rotate the leader to give everyone a chance.
  9. Animal Charades: Write or print out pictures of different animals and put them in a bag or box. Each child takes turns picking a picture and acting like the animal without speaking. The other children guess the animal being portrayed.
  10. Bubble Pop: Provide the children with bubble wands and a bottle of bubbles. They can take turns blowing bubbles and seeing who can pop the most bubbles in a given time or distance.

Consider the children’s age, abilities, and any safety considerations when selecting games. Adapt the rules or instructions as needed to ensure everyone can participate and have a great time playing together.

Some of this content was created with the help of ai.


How to Pray

Prayer is talking to God. Someone told me that they did not pray because they did not know how. If you can talk to me, you can talk to God.

Jesus taught how to pray and started by telling his disciples how NOT to pray.

Don’t pray because you want to impress other people.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. [a] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:5,6.

Prayer is not a talent show. Prayer is not a competition for best prayer. You have an audience of one, God. It is senseless to try to impress Him. He knows who you really are. He is far more intelligent than you will ever be.

Save your fancy words with ornaments and decorations for someone else. Prayer works best with plain and simple words.

Don’t criticize the simple prayer.

Don’t fill your prayer with empty phrases.

Don’t think that God will hear your prayer because of how many words that you use.

Not too many words:

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. [b]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:7,8.

The demonstration of God’s spiritual power does not require lofty speech at any time.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. [c]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 2:1–5.

Look at the example of prayer that Jesus provided to his disciples.

Prayer is not a shopping list for God.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread,
 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [d]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:9–15.

If the Model Prayer were a list:

  • Review the divine attribute of holiness
  • Request that God’s will be accomplished
  • Give us a piece of bread for today
  • Our need to forgive and be forgiven
  • Resistance to temptation to evil

Only one item is a personal request, asking God to give us something: daily bread.

The first item on the list is reviewing the truth about God’s nature prior to asking for anything else. The prayer in Acts 1 reads, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” Peter and company begin by describing the attribute of God that applies to their request for guidance while choosing a replacement for Judas. In their prayer, the attributes are related to God’s omniscience and ability to see into the human heart. It reminds me of the Lord’s instruction to the prophet Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” It makes me think that the church leaders were also remembering the attributes of God that are recorded in Holy Scripture and including them in this prayer.

The remaining items on the Model Prayer list could be categorized as asking God to work through us. May your heavenly kingdom come to earth through me. Accomplish Your will on earth through me. May I forgive others. May I be forgiven. May I resist temptation and be spared from sin.

I would propose that we accept this pattern in our own prayers. 1. Begin by reviewing who God is, ascribing glory to His Name, looking into the Scriptures to reveal His nature as relates to our prayer. 2. Simply ask God to provide what you need. 3. Spend more time asking God to work through you than asking Him to work for you. Focus upon God accomplishing His will and bringing Kingdom practices into your earthly life and relationships with others.



How Not to Build Your Team

Don’t be an insecure leader when building up your team.

A team is a collection of diverse individuals with shared objectives and shared resources. Each individual team member must have freedom to perform different tasks, use different methods, explore different ideas. If the team leader desires creativity, he must encourage diverse styles, diverse expression and communication, conflicting opinions, authentic individualism.

The team leader’s function is to provide this mixed group with the tools to work in harmony. The team leader must be able to know the difference between individualism and rebellion.

Squelching diversity is a bad thing. There is a vast difference between a team member who sees things differently than leadership and a team member who desires to destroy the team and depose the leader. Take the destructive team member aside quietly, give them two warnings, then move them out of the team on the third strike. On the other hand, reward the productive member that is brave enough to admit a different perspective and respectfully share it with you.

You will be stuck with your own boring ideas if you don’t bring in associates that see things differently than you do. Stop limiting yourself and your team. Stop creating an autocracy where all the minions mindlessly perform your bidding.

Your team will not grow if it consists of clones of each other. You must have diversity. Seat the I’ll-never-be-a-minion closer to you so you get all the benefit of their nonconformity.

Don’t fall into fear of conflict. Establish tools for conflict resolution, management of differences. Celebrate differences. Be grateful for those who challenge you.

Never ever have that team meeting where you pour out upon the whole team your negative assessment based upon your frustration with one individual.

Never ever give an ultimatum to your team to either squelch individuality or to leave the team.

Intimidation, no matter how polite the euphemisms in which it is published, will only result in a weaker less authentic team trying to prove to you how much suck-uppish mindless blind loyalty that they have. You will reduce them to mere employees instead of visionary partners.

Gather your diverse team. Cast the vision. Send them out on adventure to discover great things. Bring them back together to share their new revelations. Release your team to grow and be fruitful.

How to Miss the Point of Children’s Ministry

Measuring and Grading Towards a Nice Objective May Allow Us to Totally Miss the Greater Goals of Kids’ Ministry

1. Set High Attendance Goals.

In KidMin, we prefer bigger groups over little groups. It really is a nice goal.  There are some really cool ways to make your group bigger: more parties, more toys, more candy, more games, awesome videos, awesome staging, awesome costumes, awesome music, awesome dancing.  Give them what they want. And put an object lesson in it.

Some of the advantages of having big attendance numbers are:

  • Bragging rights to your peers
  • Good impression on your ministry supervisor
  • Potential for merit-based financial incentive
  • Invitations to speak at KidMin conferences
  • Ministry success book deal

Obviously, these are not Kingdom goals. And hopefully, you are not like that. You simply want to have more students because that means more kids get to hear the Gospel and experience the love of Jesus. And you know that higher attendance is not the ultimate objective.

2. Promote Team Spirit.

As you move toward ministry improvement, you cannot neglect your team. Volunteers are scarce and insecure. You need to grab them, brand them and keep them. Your team needs to know that they are the best team in the church. You want loyal workers who breathe, walk, and dream children’s church. How can this be done? By creating an environment of possessiveness, dominance, and self-admiration. While these attitudes do not belong in the Church, they are there. Examine yourself:

  • Have you ever heard yourself talking about “my workers… my ministry… my rooms… my equipment… my resources… my area” as if you owned it all?
  • Do you feel that your ministry is in competition with the “other” ministries?
  • When an “outsider” needs to use your space or equipment, which do you immediately display: the animosity of possessiveness or the bliss of openhandedness?
  • When one of your faithful workers moves on to another area of ministry, do you experience a sense of generous fulfillment or a sense of bitter resentment?

It is possible to build a team without building a personal kingdom. Encourage team members to contribute, collaborate, fellowship, and unify. Squelch any symptoms of competitiveness, isolation, self-interest, or egotism. Bring your gifts, talents and resources to serve the whole church. There is only one God, one Church, so seek that Kingdom.

3. Make kids behave.

I often say it was a good day because no one got hurt in Children’s Church. It feels good when the kids wait their turn, talk politely, behave respectfully.

However, I know in my heart that good behavior does not necessarily indicate a changed heart. I could be merely squeezing lost boys and girls into my Christian-shaped mold. And I know that it is much more important for kids’ hearts to be transformed by God than it is for kids’ hands to be folded in their lap while I am speaking.

Recently, I have been starting our “free time” with an encouragement for the students to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit to each other as they play together, not because I have the goal of an expected behavior but because they need to learn how to live together as Spirit-empowered people.

4. Get kids saved.

We want everyone to come to a knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That’s a good goal. Remember that line from the Great Commission:

Go and make disciples…

We often ask students to do two things: lifting your hand and repeating a prayer. These aren’t bad things to do, but they don’t make you a disciple.

We can be so focused upon adding another kid’s name to a list that it becomes the final goal when it is really just the beginning of a new life in Christ. We need to stop treating the introduction to the Story as if it was the conclusion. There is more. Much more. Inspire your team to lead children to Christ, engage them in mentoring/discipleship, and apprentice them into service/ministry.