Moving From Teacher to Facilitator

Giving the Holy Spirit space in kidmin

by Chris Corbett/ September 30, 2015

All of us in children’s ministries take our role as “teacher” seriously. Providing education and instruction is a tremendous task and definitely has an important place in ministry.

When we teach, we are educating or instructing kids. Knowledge of the Word of God is important because it lays the foundation. However, knowledge of who God is or knowledge of the Bible is not enough. Kids must experience God.

A facilitator makes something possible. In children’s ministries, a facilitator presents the biblical story to kids and then makes space for the Holy Spirit to enlighten and bring understanding to children. 

What would a kids church service look like if we moved from seeing ourselves as the primary imparter of biblical and spiritual information to a spiritual facilitator that made space for the Holy Spirit to teach and transform lives? Think about the kids services you are responsible for — How much of your time do you or your team spend teaching, and how much time do you spend facilitating?

Facilitating times within the service requires us to step out of our comfort zone and maybe even change the way we think. Instead of predetermining the meaning and application of the biblical story and explaining that to kids, we plan “activities” that allow the Holy Spirit to speak through the biblical story to each child. The Holy Spirit guides the truth and application rather than us. In some ways it sounds crazy because it goes against what we have been taught.

The Holy Spirit guides us when we teach, but giving each child an opportunity to experience the power and presence of God for themselves is one of the greatest gifts we can offer kids. Each child comes into our ministry with unique needs, concerns, or struggles. The Holy Spirit knows each child intimately and understands exactly what each child needs. When we open up space for the Holy Spirit, we give kids an opportunity to connect with God wherever they are.

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Give kids an opportunity to listen to the Holy Spirit by practicing the spiritual discipline of silence. Start small with 30 seconds or 1 minute. Let kids share what the Holy Spirit is saying to them.
  2. Give kids an opportunity to pray alone or in small groups.
  3. Provide activities that allow for self-introspection, such as journaling or art. Involve men in the brainstorming of ideas to get their perspective on ideas for boys.
  4. Use small groups and ask questions that facilitate discussion of the biblical truth. For example, “What do you think about…” or “What do you think the Bible means when it says…”
  5. Most importantly, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
What are some other ways we can move from teaching to facilitating? What have you tried that you can share with others?