Jun 22, 2011

Checklist for An Effective Large Group Lesson

Over the past 22 years, I have taught thousands of large group lessons for kids. There have been times when I bombed and times when the kids were on the edge of their seats. Through lots of mistakes and trial and error, I began to see a pattern of what elements made up an effective large group lesson. Here's my checklist. When preparing a lesson, I make sure many, if not all, of these elements are incorporated into the lesson.
  • One main Bible verse and truth.
  • Repetition. I repeat and illustrate the one main truth multiple times throughout the lesson.
  • Audience participation. As a group, I have the kids shout out answers, make sound effects, do motions, etc.
  • Voice fluctuation. I whisper...I shout...I talk normal.
  • Visual props. If I'm talking about the wise and foolish builders, I will have sand and a rock on stage.
  • Visual imagery. A video clip or a picture.
  • Sounds effects. I let them hear the wind and rain.
  • A story that illustrates the truth.
  • Attention span monitoring. For preschoolers the lesson is going to be 4-5 minutes. 10-12 minutes max for early elementary kids. 13-15 minutes max for preteens.
  • Kids helping. I bring a few kids up front to help act out stories, hold props, emphasize the point, etc.
  • Application. I give them concrete ways they can live out the truth that week and challenge them to do so. 
  • Kids talking. At the right time. I ask kids to repeat points or say key phrases to the person sitting next to them.
  • Humor. I bring in some funny elements and get the kids laughing. You learn when you laugh.
  • Prayer. I close the lesson in prayer, asking God to bring life change and spiritual growth from the truths that were shared from His Word.
Would enjoy hearing about other elements you incorporate when teaching kids. Share your ideas.
    Posted by Dale


    I have done some talks in the past where asking for volunteers and allowing them to interact with the props is brilliant fun! The kids learn and share what they have learned because of their experience. Another fun twist to this, is to ask the parents of children to be volunteers (if they are around).

    Spot on and I'd argue the same applies when talking to adults....
    Matt Harding

    If only most adult preachers would read these tips too! That's why most adults learn so much more from a good children's lesson than from the sermon.

    Q: What's the most ineffective way of teaching?
    A: The lecture method.

    Q: What's the main method of adult teaching in church services every week?
    A: The lecture method.

    Kids ministry ... the greatest in the kingdom :o)

    I do school assemblies and library shows as well as children's evangelist programs. Your one main point and repetition are key. For full assemblies you can get 2 or 3 main points which are interlocked. Ex. Bullying theme: 1. I have a right to feel safe. 2. Tell an adult if I don't feel safe. 3. Be a caring friend

    Thanks for the list, Dale. I'm really trying to improve my large group times. I have been looking at some of the whole brain teaching methods and I like many of them, like "repeat this to your neighbor". Thanks for the additional ideas1

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