So, like I said yesterday, there is a children’s talk to be written, and soon. (Help!)
I have been writing kids bible talks for about 15 years now. I was so privileged in my 5th year of knowing Christ, to get a job in a Christian Community school. One of my roles as a classroom teacher was to prepare, and present one chapel talk per school term. That was 4 per year. However, the greatest privilege was not preparing, and presenting my own talks, but watching and learning from the incredible variety of talks given by the other teachers. What a gift!
What that time in my life gave me, besides ideas, ideas, ideas!, was permission to go with my strengths. Everyone had different leanings, and the Principal always encouraged us to share what we were good at. Some of the teachers would play instruments, others could pray like Mary herself, still others would look scientifically at objects or concepts discussed in the parables, and draw the truth of the word out in their observations. One was so funny he had the whole school rolling in the aisles, another built the most fantastic experiments and props. My strengths were dramatic, so I made performing (or directing the audience through) a script my starting place, at first I used other people’s writing, then began to prepare my own, and my style grew from there. What I discovered was that, even more than being dramatic, I loved to encourage people from the word of God! My greatest strength was that I am an encourager.
No matter how it looks, and sounds on presentation day, whenever I write a kids’ bible talk I follow the same process. So, I thought I’d share that process with you today. You may find it helpful, no matter what your strengths. It can be done in one sitting, if you’re preparing a quick 2 minute talk, or longer if the talk is longer and you have more lead-time.
- Read the appropriate section of the bible (in a couple of different translations, study the greek or Hebrew words if you think that might help your own understanding)
- Study the context of the verse in the bible; who said it? to whom? when? why?where? Discover anything that I don’t know about the words, historical info and their definition. These can be googled easily on your phone today (unlike 15 years ago!).
- Pray again, ask God be brutally honest with myself “Am I living this scripture?” “How can I better live this scripture?” (I refuse to give a talk on something I have not been convicted of myself and transformed by, that would make me a hypocrite.)
- Write an outline by breaking down the scripture into sections that need to be explained. A kids’ talk is all about explaining what the scripture means.
- Make sure I have done all of Steps 1- 6 because they are the most important. (They may possibly take the longest.) Steps 1-6 are the foundation, without them the talk may just topple over.
- At this point I will come up with characters or ideas for props or a story that would help the explanation.
- Pray again
- Write a draft & print it out, (The printing out is optional and circumstance driven, but I do like it.)
- Pray again
- ‘Read’ the draft aloud to an ‘audience’ (usually myself) with a pen handy to make changes. Different words might come more naturally out of my mouth and need to be added, and of course whole sections, and sentences will need to be crossed out.
- Re-read and Re-type the newly massacred draft
- Read the now polished draft aloud and make any changes to finish
- Read the script aloud, or in my head, many many times until I know it off by heart or, if I am pressed for time, until I know the general gist off by heart and can follow the notes as I give the talk.
- Pray before the talk, and give it up to God. Let Jesus move in the children’s hearts not my talk. Let God increase and me decrease. (Be ready to ditch the whole thing without offence if the Holy Spirit leads that way or it is vetoed for some reason.) Ask not for a successful talk but for the hearts of the children to be softened and the good news of Jesus to be heard and believed!
The talk I am preparing is 10 minutes long. I have three weeks to prepare. The children are ages 6-12 and there will be about 200 girls in the audience. Over the last week and a half I have done steps 1-4 and I am still wrestling with 3 and 4 as I go about my days. I cannot move forward until they are done. That is why I am blogging about them this week. (See tomorrow’s post) Put simply; Steps 3 and 4 write the talk. Once the speaker has the understanding and the heart for the scripture, the explanation of it comes quickly and naturally in an authentic way that will capture an audience.
I hope you are blessed and encouraged by this process. Perhaps kids’ talks are not your thing but you know someone, whom this post may encourage. Please pass it on to bless them. Sometimes it is a scary task, or a lonely one, preparing for a kids talk. Nowadays, if you’re new at it, there are examples of talks on Youtube. You could use them as a springboard or, if you’re allowed, even to copy. But I want to encourage people that they can prepare their own talks, even if they’re scared. It’s a wonderful, worthwhile, faith-building opportunity! Go for it.
Lots of love,
© Lauren Macdonald. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauren Macdonald @ http://godhelpmei.com