Rules of Engagement

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[Rule#4] Inspire to engage.

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I believe today’s kids truly want to make an impact on this world
more than any other generation before them. Kids care about many
social justice and global issues today’s world faces. They feel an
obligation to do, not just consume. Empower them. Your
kids need you to motivate, inspire, and challenge them to change
their world. It’s not enough to simply teach life application; you
must engage them with a real challenge. Kids want to make a
difference, but they need the spur to do it. You’re that spur. You
may be surprised at how your kids engage when you set before them
an opportunity to make an actual difference in this world.

[Rule#5] Make sure you’re really relating.

The most significant thing you can do to keep kids engaged is to
offer them authentic relationship. So focus your efforts on
reaching children and engaging their hearts by demonstrating a
genuine interest in their lives. But it has to be real interest.
Kids can spot a phony faster than you can say, “Flarp” — and they
can tell when you really aren’t interested.

Just think of my friend Jackson. I thought, based on his seemingly
rapt attention, that I was making a real connection with him
because he appeared to be listening. But sending the occasional
smile and nod his way didn’t cut it — and it won’t cut it with
your kids, either. Though Jackson was sitting less than five feet
from me, he was really miles away because I hadn’t made a real
connection with him. So make sincere efforts to relate to kids that
go beyond the classroom. Truly invest in kids with your words,
time, and actions.

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Investing in kids is like investing in your retirement…a few
nickels and dimes at first, but over time and with persistence,
kids’ engagement and interest will compound. Best of all, you’ll
likely find that kids become the ones making an effort to engage
you.

Engaging kids takes practice, persistence, and awareness. If you
work to engage kids on every level using these rules for a guide,
you’ll see their eyes, hearts, and ears open up-as they soar to new
heights in their faith. cm

Kirk Morgan is a children’s pastor in Houston, Texas. He’s
been involved in children’s ministry in some way since his
childhood.

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