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Harmonizing the Spoken and Unspoken: A Deeper Look into Children's Communication in Ministry Work

Matthijs Vlaardingerbroek| Aug 10, 2023
An image showing a Sunday school teacher engaged in a conversation with a young boy, Leo, illustrating the importance of understanding both verbal and non-verbal cues in children

Explore the intricate balance between verbal and non-verbal communication in children and discover how understanding both can enhance your children's ministry work.

As highlighted in our previous discussions, children communicate through a blend of words and actions. To illustrate the power of understanding this, I'd like to share a story about a boy named Leo from my Sunday school class.

Leo was an animated child, full of stories and adventure. But I noticed something strange. His body language often didn't match the excitement of his tales. He would squirm around, avoid eye contact, and his smiles seemed somewhat forced.

Identifying the Misalignment Between Words and Actions

Recognizing when a child's words don't align with their actions is key to understanding their true feelings. Leo's stories were colorful and fun, but his body language whispered a different tale. It suggested that underneath his lively storytelling, he was feeling uneasy about something.

Addressing the Underlying Issues

Observing Leo's discrepancy led me to talk to him privately. I gently pointed out that I'd noticed he seemed a little uncomfortable and reassured him that he could share anything with me. Over time, he shared that he was feeling excluded in the group.

Listening to the Symphony of Words and Actions

Being attuned to both verbal and non-verbal signals allows us to provide the support children need. We, as children's ministry workers, have a responsibility to understand and guide them through their emotional journeys, be it their worries, joys, or fears.

Adapting to Each Child's Unique Communication Style

Every child is unique and so is their way of communicating. As ministry workers, it's our role to adjust our listening skills to understand the distinct needs of each child in our care.


The art of understanding a child's communication lies in acknowledging both their words and actions. When we can tune into this harmony, like we did with Leo, we are better equipped to provide the guidance and support they need.

Keywords: Children's Ministry, Good Listening, Understanding Kids, Communication, Safe Space, Responding Well, Understanding Non-verbal Signals

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