In a world of images, videos, and technology, it seems that it takes so much to compete for kids’ attention. When it comes to storytelling, keeping children’s attention can be even more difficult. Many times it takes other things such as object lesson, images, and videos. But should it really take a show to keep kids on the edge of their seats?

When I saw this video from B.J. Novak, from The Office, I thought it was extremely powerful.

If you’re interested in The Book with No Pictures, you can get it here.

Before we go any further, I’m not trying to say that object lessons and attention-grabbing methods shouldn’t be used when speaking to kids. On the contrary, I think that object lessons can and should be used to help kids understand concepts that can be rather difficult at times. However, this video shows that children will actually listen to what we say, apart from all of the external things that we do to try to hold their attention.

There are two principles that we must keep in mind, however.

1. Our message is important.

The children in this video were hanging on every word he had to say because they thought it was entertaining. They wanted to hear what he had to say because they were captivated by what he might tell them next. Imagine if our time with children was that way. What if kids couldn’t wait to hear God’s Word and they were so tuned-in that they were hanging on every word that we said? Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

Which leads me to the next principle.

2. How we deliver our message is important.

If the reader in the video would have not delivered the book well, it might have possibly been the most boring five minutes ever. However, the way he put inflection on his “story” and the way he told it, made them wan to hear more. We can have an important message, but how we deliver our message is crucial if we want people to listen. That’s why speakers and teachers should always be honing their skills to become better speakers.

Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Read books and articles on speaking and teaching.
  • Study other speakers.
  • Evaluate yourself.
  • Have others evaluate you.
  • Continue striving to improve.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you think how we deliver our message is that important? Leave your input in the comments!

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GJ Farmer is a husband, a dad, the founder of ChildrensMinistryBlog.com, and is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in Somerset, Kentucky. He has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and a Master’s degree in Children’s Ministry. He has also been fortunate to lead and teach groups at children’s ministry conferences and to have had some of his writing published. Apart from working with kids, he enjoys reading, performing magic tricks, playing video games, and University of Kentucky basketball.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great job on this post. I love the BJ Novak video. It’s true…. When we rely on object lessons and image “gimmicks” we do ourselves a disservice as teachers by not finding the great moments in our Bible stories and bringing them to life for our kids we teach. Great teachers after all are also great storytellers.

  2. As someone who loves to use object lessons and visual illustrations, I must say that storytelling without visual aid is still one of the (if not, the most) powerful tools in communication. It’s like the difference between reading a book and watching a movie. We all know the feeling of using our God-given imaginations to visualize what we read in a book. Then we might go see the movie of the book and we’re let down because the real world visuals just don’t live up to our imaginary worlds.

    It is also important to note that generations before us passed down the truths and stories of the Bible for thousands of years without the benefit of modern technology and today’s visual aids. And I think we can safely say that the passing down of that knowledge has worked!

    I’ve read that BJ Novak book to my daughter. It’s a good one.

    Thanks for posting GJ

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