Being Flexible as I Teach English to Kids in Japan

Children’s ministry can be done in many ways. Classes, childcare, Bible study, sports . . . there are many opportunities. I teach English and, as most English teachers know, there are very specific details to my responsibilities. Things like vocabulary, grammar, and reviews.

There are also some general elements to children’s ministry that are applicable to multiple ministry platforms. Things like God’s word, structure, and genuinely caring about the children. I have discovered that these general elements need to influence how I teach the specifics of English.

For example, my students often come to my class after a full day of school, and they haven’t had their evening meal yet. I can have a fully planned out and structured lesson that covers all my specific requirements, but if I don’t consider the fact that they are tired and hungry, then I am not going to teach them well.

I’ve also discovered that one size does not fit all. For example, the 5th and 6th-grade class is more open to teaching activities like board and card games that make the lesson material fun to use; while the 1st grade class thrives with various versions of tag (I manage to sneak some teaching in there too, they don’t realize it though). If I didn’t genuinely care about my students, I wouldn’t want to adjust the lesson to encompass their physical needs as well as their mental capabilities so that they were able to learn.

But the main reason to keep my lessons fun and engaging, is the chapel time after the lesson. I’m supposed to be teaching English, and I need to do a good job at it. But the goal of these lessons is the chapel time. This is when we share the gospel with the students. It’s just a short chapel time, and the message is simple, but because I have (hopefully) not over-stressed them with too much academic interaction, the students are attentive and interested.

Children’s ministry is a wonderful opportunity to share God’s Word interactively. It can be tons of fun, and it can be challenging. If you or someone you know is feeling the call to children’s ministry, take a deep breath and rejoice in this adventure of ministry!

By Rachel, an OMF missionary

#OMFJapan #PrayforJapan

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