If you’re reading this, you’re probably comfortable speaking to and teaching kids, but you might not be comfortable calling it preaching. Take heed. Have confidence. We’ve got your back. We’re here to let you know you’re a preacher! You can do it! We’re also here to pass along five ways to do it better. That’ll preach!

1.Use fewer words. Use a sparse outline or no notes at all. Preaching from a manuscript (a sermon written in long-form) often leads to a message that sounds like it is being read from a book. Once kids get bored enough to disengage, it’s hard to get them back. If you really like to prepare with a manuscript, then take the time to turn the manuscript into an outline before preaching. That process alone will help you remember much of what you want to say. The goal is to keep your eyes on your audience, not your notes.

2. Um. Don’t. Eliminate verbal fillers like “um” and “you know” when you’re preaching. Ask someone to help you identify which ones you use most often. Fillers come in many forms and can be distracting. It’s fine to use them occasionally, but the fewer you use, the better your preaching will be.

3. Get loud. A microphone is your friend. Microphones allow you to be the loudest person in the room without having to raise your voice. You can even whisper into a microphone and still be the loudest. No matter how well you think your voice carries, it will always sound more natural when it doesn’t need to carry.

4.One prop. Unless you’re an actual magician, you don’t need forty-seven props to hold the attention of a group of kids. Instead, try using just one. If you’re telling a story about your childhood baseball team, hold a baseball glove. Instead of using figurative language that can often be confusing, keep things concrete and easy to remember.

5. You don’t have to. Sometimes spontaneously interacting with your audience can be fun and beneficial, but it may also distract from the message. You are under no obligation to respond to every raised hand that pops up while you’re preaching. When a child raises his or her hand seeking permission to speak, they are likely planning to speak for more than a few seconds. It’s usually best to save these interactions until a natural break in your sermon. If you’ve gained the attention of your audience, protect it carefully.