In my current context we don’t really have Children’s Sermons, but for the shorter Family Service we do have 5-7 minute sermonette type things. I’ve struggled with the approach to these for the entire year. They should be children-friendly, but since 98% of the congregation is adult (and well into adulthood for that matter) and since that’s they’re only sermon for the day, it’s a bit of a tricky balance.Every week I prepare the Family Service sermon, I remember this story.
Megan’s internship church last year had weekly children’s sermons, and as she had very little discussion of such sermons in seminary, Megan asked me to ask youth and children ministry extra-ordinate Rodger Nishioka if he might suggest a book or two to help her preparation.
So one day before class, Rodger walked into our classroom to speak to a student. Getting his attention, I quickly explained Megan’s situation and asked if he might suggest a resource or two.
“Sure” he said, “Do you have a pen ready?”
“Got one” I said, happy to be helpful to Megan.
“Ok” Rodger said, “I know of a really great one that should be just what she needs. It’s a book called the Bible, that’s B-I-B-L-E.”
The whole class laughed out loud. And I realized I had walked straight into that one.
Rodger’s right. Children don’t need gimmicks or ridiculous moralistic stories only distantly related to the Bible. Sure, the stories from the Bible should be told in age-appropriate ways, but if the goal is entertainment, making the adults laugh, or singling out children for haze or praise (and…making the adults laugh) then we’ve taken our proverbial eye of the ball.
Call me crazy, but I think Rodger is on to something.