Monday, February 16, 2009

Getting The Point is the Most Important Part of a Lesson

You’ve likely heard people say, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” What they mean is you can say all kinds of not-so-nice things to people as long as you say them in a nice way. While this sounds like solid advice, it puts a lot of importance on the means & tone of delivery, and very little on the content of the message.

In Christian circles we may tend to tip the scales a bit too far the other way. Some of us are so focused on the content of our message that we overlook the importance of presenting it in a way that it is understood & received by our listeners. This is particularly true for grownups attempting to communicate God’s truth to kids.

Personally, I would alter the statement slightly to make it more accurate. I think it would be better said that, “It’s not only what you say, it’s also how you say it.”

One of the key rules of being a good communicator is to know who you’re talking to. Understanding your audience lets you hone & deliver your message using language & terminology that your listeners understand. Imagine if you were asked to communicate the simple fire safety message, “Stop, Drop and Roll” to two different audiences: 1st graders and senior citizens. While the message is exactly the same, I hope you would deliver that message differently to those two groups.

In order to deliver a message that connects with your kids, you need to know more than merely WHAT you want to say… you need to think about HOW to say it. BTW, how you “say” something stretches far beyond the words you choose to use… it includes everything from the way you position the chairs in the room, to your lighting and wall decorations. It includes your physical posture, the shirt you wear and the pace and energy with which you speak.

Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 9:22
, ”To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”

This week, as you teach and interact with your kids, remember that they aren’t adults! Meet them on their turf. Use their terms. Look them in the eyes. Get down on the floor if you have to. After all, getting the point is the most important part of any lesson.

No comments: