Great Children's Sermon Resource

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.

Comments

  1. Amen to Rodger and to your observation.

  2. One of the most interesting children’s sermons I ever observed occurred while visiting a very progressive UMC in Chicago. The communion table (very large) had been moved to the center of the worship space. When the time came for the Children’s sermon, the leader came to the table, pulled out a rug (all of the visitors had leaned forward thinking – at least this is something we can understand) and the children gathered on the rug in a huddle. The adults couldn’t hear a thing – it was all for the kids and not for the adults at all, announcements went around the congregation on a clipboard while this was going on. At the end, the children got up and went back to their seats. Never did know what they talked about – but they knew that they had special time too.

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  3. Not being very computer savvy, I pushed send too quickly. Anyway, a minister prior to BSC at Old First felt he had no rapport with children. When circumstances required that he do a kiddy sermon,
    he sat down, invited children to come close and sit around him, and told a Bible story. The children were totally caught up – and the adult segment of the congregation was also. So your friend who recommended the B I B- L E was pretty much right on the money. Other ministers have made a great impact by starting off the sermon with an illustration that kids will respond to.
    You can see their little ears perk up and eyes open wide when they feel included.

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  5. I’ve written 3 books of children’s sermons, written around 1990, and my favorite stories are still retellings of those found in the B-I-B-L-E. One avoids many of the pitfalls associated with children’s sermons by sticking to the original message as well–common problems such as talking down to the children, using them as entertainment for the adults or expecting preschoolers to interpret object lessons any child development student knows they are not yet ready to understand. Thank-you for this excellent reminder that the basics are often best.

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