By Rev. John Hulden, Assistant to the Bishop
With a gaggle of little sweet ones gathered at the preacher’s feet, who knows what will happen next? Check your next kids’ sermon against these five simple concepts so you don’t get derailed the next time you are called on to preach to kids.
- Keep It Simple and Short (KISS): I love kids’ sermons! But they are not the main thing in the worship service. Effective kids’ sermons do not have to be long. (I know, I know. It’s tempting to have a nice long chat with those adorable munchkins.) It is up to you to stay on point, have some fun, and move along.
- Memorize the sermon, because eye contact is critical. I am bad at memorization. I can’t remember the second line of a song, much less the second verse. But, I have made a commitment for all of my years of parish ministry to never take notes with me to a kids’ sermon. If I can do it, you can, too (and it’s much easier to do if you keep it simple and short).
- You are the theologian. Don’t depend on the kids’ answers to bring your message home. They are just kids after all. You need to drive this bus. It is great to ask kids questions, but ask for information, not in hopes they will have the right answer.
- Four-year-old vocabulary only; no big words. ‘Nuff said.
- Move! Plan your message so the kids have to walk, make noises, crawl, jump, or roll around. Kids have bodies and they know how to use them.
And here’s a bonus suggestion: I like to end every kids’ sermon with a call and response prayer. What will be your “liturgy” with the kids?
A version of this blog appeared on WorkingPreacher.org.