I remember very clearly one poor woman trying so hard to give a children's sermon on Christmas Eve. It went something like this:
Preacher: Who's the most powerful superhero you can think of?
Preacher: No, I mean, you know, superheroes.
Children (muttering): Superman, Spiderman, blah blah blah.
Preacher: OK, now think of a tiny baby...
Preacher: No, just wait a minute...
I misrepresent, but not by much.
I'm not a big fan of the "ask the adorable children a question" school of children's sermons. I'm also not really a huge fan of "have the adorable children come up front and sit around the preacher" school of children's sermons. When it's about being able to see and hear--fine. When it's largely about the "awww" factor, I'm a mite concerned. So often it seems like this is putting kids on the spot at their expense and sharing with the adult congregation the "adorable" things they say.
|Yes, he's my favorite superhero.||So?|
What the example above says to me is that children learn very quickly what is the "right" answer--even though the question was the kind of open-ended question you think would appeal to a child on a subject with which they are familiar. Learning church lingo starts awfully early. One of the things I fear is that the dreaded children's sermon conveys more than anything the message that in church you must know your proper place and play your proper role.
I do think there are ways to have a sermon that engages children. I'm big on telling stories, for example.
|All these illustrations are in the same pose; did you notice?|