August 28, 2014

Children’s Sermon: Jesus’ Blessing Is Here for You

By Chaplain Mike

I like the children’s sermon in a worship service. Many have suggested that adults usually get more out of it than they do the pastor’s sermon! I’ve heard my share of them over the years, good and bad.

The best ones were simple, short, and directed to the imagination.

It’s obviously wise to avoid difficult theological language when speaking to children. Since they are not asking adult questions, little ones don’t need an apologetics course or heavy arguments proving something about Jesus or the Bible. Detailed exegesis of a passage?—no. I don’t think it’s a good idea for adults to be recruiting children to be little evangelists or missionaries. Nor should they be scolded as little sinners or encouraged to become good little law-keepers.

I do think it wise and loving to help kids gain a sense of the wonder and love and acceptance of God. The children’s sermon should fit in with the rest of the service as a celebration of the Gospel. Young boys and girls should be inundated with the Gospel, impressed with the words and stories of Jesus, and made to feel like a special part of the church family.

Our pastor does the children’s sermon in our congregation. A woman who is a teacher does it each week at the church where I’ve been preaching. I think it’s good to have a consistent voice or at least a small group of regulars. A children’s sermon is not a Sunday School lesson. It is one simple Gospel point, made briefly and lovingly by a friendly adult to a group of children.

I’d love to receive comments about the children’s sermon and how it works in your congregation.

They asked me to speak to the children this morning. You can read what I said to them after the jump.

Is there anyone here this morning that is seven years old? How about eight? This morning, I’m remembering a time when I was about seven or eight years old. When I was that age, my family went to a church in a building that was a lot like this one. It had been built a long time ago, long before I was born, and lots of moms and dad had brought their children to church for many years there.

Everywhere you looked, you could see and feel the beautiful old solid wood that they used for the pews and the doors. Before every worship service, someone would walk up front with one of those long golden poles and light the candles on the table where the Bible and sometimes some fresh flowers were placed. Here, feel the wood on this table.

When we sang, we were led by a lady who played the organ, and that was the only time anywhere that I heard the sound of that musical instrument. (Did you know that she plays it with her feet as well as her hands?) We had a choir too, in fact, our church was a little bigger and we had three choirs every week. There was the adult choir that sat in the front. Up in the balcony on this side was the teen choir, and over on this side, the children’s choir. They all wore bright robes of different colors and sang at different times in the service.

Our pastor always wore a robe too, usually a black one. When he came in at the beginning of the service, during the first song, he would always kneel very seriously at his chair, holding a large black Bible in his hand. Then he would get up and speak to us in a deep, rich voice, encouraging us to worship God and love one another.

One of the songs we sang this morning was my favorite hymn when I was seven or eight, “This Is My Father’s World. It has such a pretty melody and it talks about the birds and the trees and the grass and the skies. Since I loved to play outside so so much, it made me happy to know that God was with me everywhere.

My favorite thing about being there in church with my mom and dad was looking up and seeing the sunlight coming through the colors of the stained-glass windows. Just like in this building! It made me feel so peaceful inside. I felt that church must be a happy place, a place of warmth and brilliant light. And when that light shone down on all the people there, who were dressed in such nice clothes and sitting on those beautiful wooden pews, singing and praying together, listening to the choirs sing and the organ play and the pastor speak, I felt like I was in a special place, a place that felt like home, a place where I felt welcome.

My prayer for each one of you boys and girls is that you will always feel that way about being together with God’s family in church too. Jesus’ blessing is here for each and every one of you.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for each one of these children.
Thank you for the joy they bring to their families and for the gifts they have for our world.
Help them to come to fully understand your special love for them in Jesus.
And may they always feel welcome and loved in your family.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Comments

  1. As a children’s minister, I have done children’s sermons. I like doing the children’s sermons. In one church in which I was a staff member, one man who gave the final prayer of the service said: “We’ve heard 2 good sermons today.” He was talking about the senior pastor’s sermon and my children’s sermon. So yes, many adults can gain an understanding from the children’s sermon as well as the children for which it is geared.

    When planning children’s sermons, I like to use an object lesson often with a prop or something the children (and adults) can see. That way they are using more than one sense to understand the message. People learn in many ways. Auditory and visual are great ways in which to deliver a children’s sermon in which to meet many different learning styles.

  2. If anyone is looking for a good source for children’s sermons, I would suggest visiting the blog of our very own Denise Spencer. She has some wonderful children’s sermons.

  3. Children’s sermons are one of the things in the life of the church that are always awkward for me. Probably because of grief of my unusual family situation, the awkwardness seems worse. Over the years it never seems to get better, but just one of those things I quietly endure.

    But, I am not sure I advocate getting rid of children’s sermons. Part of living life is enduring those things which are awkward. I guess if we got rid of everything in church that hurt, there wouldn’t be much left.

  4. we usually end up telling stories to adults and using object lessons with children, but actually the research shows that we should be telling stories to children and using object lessons with adults…

    • Pete, I totally agree with your point. All learning styles can learn and gain understanding visually, seeing an object, whether it’s an actual object or an image of one.

  5. Thanks, Mike. Great sermon. Having been struggling with going to church for a while (feeling wrung out and with nothing to give), I, as an adult, needed to hear this. Surely it is of the Spirit! It pierced some armour–not that I had such a heritage to look back on, but because in a s ense this post “gifted” me with what I had previously missed. Go figure. Thanks!

  6. I’m gonna go grumpy on this one. Here’s every children’s sermon I’ve ever heard:
    .
    What’s this?
    A paper plate!
    Jesus is like a paper plate because without it we couldn’t get our daily meals.
    .
    What’s this?
    A flashlight!
    Jesus is like a flashlight because he shows us the way.
    .
    What’s this?
    Candy!
    Jesus is like candy, because it is sweet and it rewards us for being good.
    .
    What’s this?
    The TV Guide!
    Jesus is like the TV Guide, because he helps us plan what to do.

  7. Try Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.

  8. I work in the Children’s Department at my church. Being able to teach children is such a great deal of fun. I find that the best way to reach kids is to tell a story. I usually like to tell personal stories of all the trouble my brother and I got into as children. Trust me, these stories are not without humor- the kids get to laugh. Also, I agree with you that simple is best. It is more likely they will retain it. Raising children in the day and age isn’t always easy. Any help, like the church, a parent can receive is always welcomed.