A little girl sat at her grandmother’s feet to listen to the creation story from the Book of Genesis. As the wondrous tale unfolded, the grandmother noticed that the child was unusually quiet. “Well, what do you think of it, dear?” she asked. “Wow,Â I love it, Grandma,” the child answered, “you never know what God’s going to do next.”
Isn’t it wonderful how children approach life with a “you never know what’s going to happen next,” attitude? With a little planning and practice, you can tailor your children’s sermons so that each week, the youngest members of your flock will come ready with that same sense of excitement and expectation.
A pastor invited the little ones to come forward for the childrenâ€™s sermons. After they had seated themselves on the altar steps, he announced he was going to talk about frogs. He asked the group, “When I say â€™frog,â€™ whatâ€™s the first thing that comes to your mind?” Promptly, one little boy answered, “‘God!’ Because I know you didnâ€™t bring us down here to talk about frogs.”
Each week, as you gather the little ones near, you may in fact be telling a story about frogs, or puppies or any of our Lord’s glorious miracles of creation — because there’s no better way to deliver a message to children than with a good story. And along with your story, simple props can be extremely effective — a glass of water, a loaf of bread, the coat you wore to church. Yes, even a frog. You can talk about frogs until you’re green in the face, but let one jump out of your pocket and you’re guaranteed to get the children’s attention!
To be effective in communicating with your youngest members, it’s important to keep a few simple tips in mind. Stick to one point, and one point only. Tell a simple story and then relate it directly to Scripture. Avoid big words or difficult concepts, always keeping the school age of your group foremost in mind. Type out the text of your message. As you read it over, ask yourself if the concepts, cultural references and vocabulary are appropriateÂ for the age group. Remember, “Lassie” may have been your favorite program as a kid, but today’s audience will be lost with that reference. Above all, remember: good preaching is like good conversation. For some, it will take a bit of practice to get the conversation going with the youngest members of the church.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs. Then He put His arms around them,” Mark tells us, “and gave them His blessing” (Mk. 10:14,16).
Each week, as you gather the little ones near, let them feel as though Jesus has put His arms around them. If you can do this, your children’s ministry will surely be blessed.