I have a confession. I never loved giving children’s sermons. If you’re like me, you’ve seen (and probably even given) too many boring, fluffy or confusing ones. When I was still working in church ministry I advocated for doing away with them. But, I knew there had to be a better way to give children’s sermons. And there is! If you’re already using our super easy, low-prep Illustrated Children’s Moments you know the power of simply inviting children into the narrative of scripture. And maybe now you’re looking for a way to step up your game, feel more confident and have more fun while giving children’s sermons. So, we’ve put together a list of six tips that will help you do just that!
Easy Prep for Amazing Children’s Sermons
One of my professors in seminary used to advise us against using steering wheel curricula. You know, the kind you can just open for the first time and read on your steering wheel while driving to church? So, let’s be clear. Low-prep doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter if you prepare. We’re all busy. But putting time and intention into your children’s sermons will make you feel more confident and deliver more to the children. So, how might you do this?
- Read the lesson three days ahead. This is the only way to let your mind work on the lesson. First, it allows you time to become connected to the topic. Second, you give space for the Spirit to bring experiences into focus that may relate to the lesson. Third, if you’ll be printing your materials to use in your children’s sermon, do it now. Alternatively, if you’ll be using a device, be sure materials are downloaded and can be brought up without any glitch.
- Read the scripture before Sunday morning. It isn’t required that you read the scripture if you use our Illustrated Children’s Moments materials. However, your delivery of the lesson will only be improved if you have read and understood the scripture you’re teaching about. First, a few days before, read the scripture. Next, learn what was happening at the time when the community of faith would have been hearing this text.
- Meditate and make associations of your own. So, you’ve read the scripture and understand some of its context. Now, ask yourself what stands out to you and what questions you have. This allows you to connect authentically to the text as well as to the process of discovery into which you’re inviting the children.
- Invite other adults to get involved. A great way to engage the children’s attention is to rotate adults who give children’s sermons in worship. Additionally, this fosters intergenerational relationships within a faith community. And it offers you time for other demands and/or a break so you can remain excited about doing this part of your job.
Considering the Children During Children’s Sermons
Giving children’s sermons can feel like an obligation to fulfill every Sunday morning. But, they don’t have to. They can provide a great opportunity to connect with children and teach them about God. In order to do that, we need to know them and their needs. And we must see them as an integral part of our faith community.
- Target an age group. The fact is you aren’t going to be able to reach every child at their developmental level every week. This is partially because there simply isn’t much time. So, as you prepare, decide what age you’ll aim to connect to that Sunday. Incorporate specific examples and use language that will be relevant to that age group. In effect, you’ll meet each age group more effectively during your children’s sermons this way than trying to reach them all.
- Avoid putting the children on display. Placing children on display up in front of the church is one more way we make them an accessory to the community. However, they are the community of faith just as we all are. How might we rethink this? For the children’s sermons, try inviting the kids to sit in the first couple of pews facing forward rather than on the floor or stage facing the congregation. Additionally, invite adult participation. Ask the congregation questions, for example. Get creative. Lastly, not only does this show respect to the children, it’s often helpful in quelling some of the performance impulse children may have being up in front of the congregation.
You’re in a unique role that allows you the distinct opportunity to dig your fingers into the soil of children’s lives and plant seeds of God’s love. These seeds grow almost imperceptively, adding over the course of a lifetime beauty, meaning, rootedness and depth to the lives of the young ones whom you serve. Blessings of joy and vision as you do this invaluable work.
We hope these tips help you prepare for amazing children’s sermons. And if you’ve got tips of your own, don’t forget to share them with the ICM community in the comments section!