From working in children’s ministry for nearly 30 years, I’ve developed a recipe that may just help your next big kids’ event be a little more “tasty.” If you want to leave the children, parents, and workers you minister to with a full heart, nourished with the love of our Father, then I hope that these next few words will show you in a few easy steps, what it took me years to learn. Let both my trial and error and years of experience make your message taste rich and absolutely delicious.
As a little boy growing up in Farmers Branch, Texas there were days after school where I would run all the way home. I ran not for the love of running, but because I knew my mother would have her fresh baked homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting on me. I can still smell those cookies baked with love just for me. I can almost taste them now as I sit here writing for you, and that my friends, is my point. Don’t you want every one of your kids’ events to be as tasty as my mom’s freshly baked homemade chocolate chip cookies? Don’t you want to leave the children in your ministry wanting more? If your answer is “yes”, then get ready to give them more Jesus, more laughter, more learning, more love! Leave your kids wanting more! Let the message of Jesus linger in their hearts as they savor each tasty bite of your next big event.
Let’s get started. Get the SAVOR method in mind. I developed this in 1986 as a young man trying to figure out how to reach the children I was ministering to. The SAVOR method is easy to use; just spell out the word SAVOR and follow the steps.
S … Keep your message SIMPLE.
It does not have to be loaded with theological overtones. Keep it simple! Chocolate chip cookies are delicious, but not as delicious if you add too many ingredients. Start simple. Be sure to use a recipe you are familiar with. Accent one idea; it will be easier for your kids to digest. Carry the theme forward with clarity and simplicity. Break the message down. Present it with precision and lucidity.
A … ADJUST to the audience’s age.
If you’re working with toddlers, you cannot present the information in the same fashion as you would to fifth graders. Change your delivery style and tone. Use examples that are age appropriate. This is a must! I try to place my audiences in two groups: preK- 2nd grade, and 3rd -5th. This option is not always obtainable. Just remember, you would not feed a baby pizza … and you cannot give your 5th graders baby food. Adjust to your audience.
V … Use VIVID VISUALS.
Accent every Sunday school lesson, VBS event, or Bible study with vivid visuals. A picture does speak a thousand words. Remember, your goal is to leave your kids wanting more, more, more, so help them by making your lesson or big event deliciously tasty. Use props, pictures, pieces of art and get outside help, too. Don’t be afraid to hire a ministry artist. Accent your message with a juggler, puppeteer, ventriloquist, singer, storyteller, dance troop, or clown. Give your ministry artist “helper” five key points you want to hear and see in their presentation. Give them your scripture references and the overall theme. Again, keep it simple. If you’re bringing someone in to speak to your kids, you want their message to accent your own. This is easily accomplished with a little preparation and planning in advance.
O … OBSERVE your audience.
As your event unfolds, be flexible enough to edit, cut away, drop, and/or add to your presentation. You know your kids. Be willing to spot their mood, detect their attention span, and discern by the power of God’s Spirit what to do. This will take preparation on your part, but you can do it. You would not serve your kids cookies that crumble out of their hands or cookies that taste too salty or too chewy. You would change your recipe. Even if you have prepared a feast of a message for your kids, you must observe them as they are “eating”, and be willing to change course if needed.
R … REPEAT, repeat, repeat.
Most of us learn by repetition. So use all five senses in your presentation: sight, sound, smell, touch, and of course taste. Allow your message to echo through their hearts again and again. Duplication of your ideas should not be feared. Retell, recite, resay, restate, reiterate and recap. Your children will carry your message with them for years.
Using the SAVOR method is a good place for you to start if you’re just beginning in children’s ministry, and it’s a great place to head if you’re a veteran frustrated by having to develop new ideas and presentation formats on a weekly basis. The SAVOR method is a sure thing—trust me; I’ve used it for years. But, here is the secret ingredient … are you ready?
I … INCLUDE The Father in your preparation.
Seek God’s face. Consult with Him about your ideas. Ask Him to give you new, fresh designs. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Include a clear message of God’s unfailing grace and mercy in every lesson. Invite the children to walk daily with Jesus. After all, that’s the purpose of your deliciously prepared event. Now, rest in the knowledge that you are God’s vessel, His handiwork, the outstretched arm of the “Master Chef.”
What was once just a simple SAVOR method to help your next big kids’ event become more tasty has now become the SAVIOR method—a life-changing seat at God’s banquet table. So, get your kids ready to dine on God’s gourmet cuisine, and remember the words of Jesus, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger” (John 6:35a).
Now, get out there and bake some delicious cookies!