Are You a Pointer or Painter in Children's Ministry

There are two types of Children’s Ministry communicators: Pointers and Painters.

Pointers drive home specific points; Painters create an overall impression.

Both can be effective.

We need to understand simple points from the Bible. We cannot apply what we don’t understand.

Teachers that can unfold practical truth and reduce ideas into bite-sized pieces are effective communicators. They are Pointers. They point to specific ideas.


The problem is that most people forget the points they learn.

This limits the effectiveness of the Pointer.

I have not yet met an adult who told me his life was changed because of an object lesson he saw in his fifth grade Sunday School class.

That brings us to the Painter.

Rather than hammer home specific points, Painters present a panoramic picture.

They communicate in broad strokes that leave an impression rather than drive home a single idea.

Here are some distinctions that might help clarify the difference.

There are strengths and weaknesses in both.

  • Pointers rely on saying it correctly; Painters rely on the overall experience from the moment a child walks into the room.
  • Pointers are about accuracy; Painters are about general understanding.
  • Pointers are more about knowing; Painters are more about feeling.
  • A Pointer’s goal tends to be more complex; a Painter’s goal tends to be simpler.

While no one would deny the importance of specific truth that Pointers provide, Painters leave a more lasting impact.

It is hard to imagine a more vital ministry than painting a panoramic picture of Jesus and His love/grace to children.

Here are some simple ways to be a better Painter:

1. Be personal

Relate to kids, parents and workers on a personal level. Be authentic.

Learn the names of your kids and parents.

Nobody needs a spiritual superman; they need real people who can relate.

2. Interact

Play games. Get kids involved.

Turn them into participants and they will connect with you.

Do stuff.

3. Create an experience

Don’t limit your lessons to teaching Bible facts. Use fun teaching techniques.

Even after kids forget your brilliant lesson they will remember that church is a fun and happy place.

That’s good.

Long after your kids have forgotten the lesson, they will remember the impression you left on them.