Every Tuesday, I get the opportunity to volunteer at an inner city ministry here in Nashville, and every week there is at least one kid there who just doesn’t want to be there. They don’t want to work on their homework; they don’t want to listen to the devotional, and they certainly don’t want to sing.
Ever been there? You have that kid that has no desire to listen to what you have to say and doesn’t think that your activities are fun. They want nothing to do with this Jesus you are talking about and have no idea why their parents force them to come to your class.
Here are some tips I’ve learned teaching at church and working with kids each Tuesday:
1. Don’t take it personally.
Kids will be kids, and some days, kids just don’t like what they have to do. They may leave and even come back next week with the same attitude, and that is ok. The Word of the Lord doesn’t return void. They may not seem to be listening or to get it, but they may.
2. Don’t get angry.
Normally, kids who say they don’t want to be in your class will warm up to you after a while if you continue to love on them and talk to them like they are an adult. Ask them lots of questions and really invest in them. Raising your voice will make them feel like you don’t really care.
3. Don’t leave boundaries undefined.
In many cases, kids will push you until they know exactly where the boundaries are. They crave them. Boundaries make kids feel safe. Set up rules at the beginning of class. Re-emphasize as you go. One of my favorites that I have learned volunteering is “raise a quiet hand to tell me …” Also, the kids know that they don’t want to be sitting along the wall because they won’t get to play capture the flag. Rewarding good behavior and participation is great.
Again, don’t be upset if you are not able to be the catalyst that makes this kid love coming to Sunday School. Sometimes, they will still not want to be involved. They may want to sit at a separate table or on the floor, and that’s ok. Try to keep their attention and make class way too much fun to want to miss! They’ll come around. It may take time, but the more they know you care the more interested they will be.
Check out these other posts within this series and watch for more coming in the next few weeks:
Ministering to the Artsy Kid
Ministering to the Smart Kid
Ministering to Kids with Sick Parents
Ministering to Kids with Divorced Parents
Ministering to the Non-Cooperative Kid