Getting through to kids

David Staal

Words Kids Need to Hear and Leading Kids to Jesus

Little League and dance and music lessons may teach children skills but “small messages used over time, can lead to big transformations.” In Words Kids Need to Hear, David Staal encourages the entire church family – particularly parents, grandparents, and children’s ministry leaders – to consider the impact of their messages and “picture one day when your kids realize the difference your words have made in their lives.”

Communicating effectively with kids is one of the most important things we do in the lives of children. David Staal uses stories from his experience as a father and children’s ministry leader to emphasize the importance of seven key phrases children need to hear. He also provides simple techniques that maximize the impact of our words to build children’s confidence, self esteem, and point them to Jesus.

While the phrases seem obvious, these messages may remain assumed or undelivered. Staal writes that when trusted adults deliver “I believe in you” statements they build a child’s confidence. “Because” is not a complete statement – instead, it should be used as a bridge to explain why or what is true. Finally, “‘I love you’ matters too much to leave assumed and unsaid.”

David Staal

If it is our goal for kids to be in heaven one day, parents, grandparents and children’s ministry leaders need to create opportunities to share their salvation story and introduce kids to their best friend Jesus. In Leading Kids to Jesus, David Staal walks through the salvation message, providing readers with the opportunity to develop their story in a succinct fashion, using kid-friendly terminology to cover the important elements of God’s salvation plan.

While specialized Willow Creek language creeps into each lesson, both books are a quick read, rich with information to help adults prepare for their messages of influence to kids. The study guide included at the end of both books makes these books an ideal choice for small group studies, and parenting or children’s ministry equipping workshops.

—Michelle Penner is a mother of three with 15 years of children’s ministry experience. She serves as sales representative for Kindred Kidz, children’s ministry arm of Kindred Productions.

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