Tag Archives: featured

6 Ways To Create Exciting Sermons For Kids

George Burns once said, “The secret of a good sermon is to have a good opening and a good ending and to have the two as close together as possible.”  Burns may have been thinking about children as well as adults.  Until recently sermons for kids were not given much thought.

These days, many churches are looking for ways to create kid-friendly sermons, either in the congregation during regular services or in Sunday school sessions so that kids get a chance to practice for longer sermons later.  These six tips will help if you want your sermons to be more appealing to children:

1.  Quality over Quantity.

Sermons for kids
Sermons for kids don’t need to be long, but they do need to be engaging

Always remember, when it comes to a sermon, measure its duration by the ancient proverb, “More is a bore, brief is a relief.”   Here’s a lesser-known fact about attention spans:  A kid’s age will generally determine the number of minutes he can listen before his mind starts to wander.  A three-year-old will listen for three minutes.  Adults themselves generally have a 22-minute attention span—that’s it!  Performers consider the saying, “Always leave them wanting more,” as sacred as the Golden Rule when it comes to a presentation. Old as that statement may be, it’s still as powerful as ever.

2.  Humor:  Make ‘em laugh!

Remember that familiar quote, “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.”  It’s interesting to see how a congregation relaxes when the minister injects something to make the congregation laugh at the opening of his sermon.   Be it adults or children, you can read their body language while they laugh or sit back with a smile that says, “Okay, you got my attention, and I’m ready to listen to what you have to say.”

3.  Don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel!

Humor, however, is a gift and an art form, and unless you have had a funny experience to share, go to the experts for a source.        Fortunately, the Internet has an endless supply of humorous material from the sermon experts, and it’s yours for the taking. This is one case where stealing is not a sin.  Those experts consider it a compliment to be copied and quoted, and that’s why their jokes are for sale in books and downloads.

4. Avoid sarcasm:  Kids just don’t get it.

One pastor asked a third grader what she wanted to be when she grew up as part of the sermon introduction.  When she said an astronaut, he replied quickly, “I guess that means you’ll be a spacey adult!”  When the congregation laughed, she thought they didn’t approve of her dream and was embarrassed. Kids love a good pun (what do cows do on weekends?  Go to the Moooooo-vies!).  But they are literal in their thinking, don’t get irony, and will not understand if you say the opposite of what you mean.  Keep it clever but not ironic or sarcastic!

5. Find opportunities to make the Bible real to them.

Children find it hard to take the events that happened to people centuries ago, who wore robes and sandals instead of jeans and athletic shoes, and make them meaningful in today’s world. Each and every event as well as every scripture applies to life now as well as to life then, and sermons can bring Bible heroes to life. Unless the children understand the lasting values and basic truths of the Bible, you have wasted your time.

6. Include them!

Kids listen better when they feel a part of things.  Use sermons as a time to ask questions, take polls, and herald all answers from children.  Some of the answers will be priceless (and if you don’t laugh the congregation will stop short of it).  Minutes used involving children directly are minutes you can erase from the minute-per-year attention span statistics.

Making kids feel essential is an important part of worship.  Schools are increasing their hours.  They are also tightening up on the adults that are allowed on school property and the places therein that adults are allowed to go.  One of the downsides is that kids’ exposure to adults is greatly diminished in this generation.  Kids always learned to become adults by copying adults, admiring adults and listening to adults.  Let the church be at the forefront in helping kids mature in Christ, and a great area is kid-friendly sermons!

Bible Games from Board Games?

All kids love board games, and all teachers love Bible games.  Combining the two may be an inexpensive and fun way to enhance learning  in Sunday school.  You can take regular board games and make them into fun Bible games with a few pieces of masking tape, a marker pen, and a few creative instructions!

Let’s start with the easy ones:  Parcheesi and its American compatriot, Sorry.  Parcheesi is known as the national game of India, though it was designed during the Depression in the United Kingdom.  Parcheesi likenesses such as Sorry are often the first games of strategy that kids are introduced to.  After rolling the dice, kids’ pieces may “slide” across a number of squares at once, and the idea is to get back to the starting point.

Many popular board games, like Monopoly and Sorry, can be easily converted to Bible games!

Introducing the Bible via Sorry or Parcheesi will bring kids into a new version of fun with a game with which they are already familiar.  To combine it with the Bible, tape certain Bible verses onto the board, verses that you’ve been studying in class.  Just tape the book, chapter and number, such as John 3:16.  Have kids guess the words, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…”  If they need help, put all the verses and their contents on a companion piece that you tape up to the wall or lay on the table.  Kids should be able to match up the verse they land on with the wording.  Suddenly Parcheesi and its likenesses can help kids memorize scripture!

Monopoly is another board game kids have loved for decades.  This time, use your masking tape to cover names like Connecticut Avenue, and put down places like Nineveh of Jonah’s ilk or Canaan, where Abraham settled.  Visit sites listing “places of the Bible.”  Instead of buying them for outright money kids must guess who lived there.  Again, wall charts can help them by providing needed clues.  Since the Community Chest and Chance cards teach charity as well as business principles, you can leave them as they are.  Free Parking can become “Free Salvation,” and “Go to Jail” and “Jail” can become “Prison of Your Own Sins.”

Scrabble is great for Biblical studies, as kids can spell out the names of places or people of the Bible.  Provide a Master List on the wall—words with 3, 4, 5 letters, all the way up to 10 letters.  You can find lists of “places in the Bible” or “people in the Bible” by surfing.

Bible Trivia is easy and relevant to any Sunday school lesson.  You can use your own games of just by putting your own questions and answers on index cards, and having kids earn points by answering correctly!  No board needed!    Apply this to any Sunday school lesson if you want to fill time and reinforce information afterward.

Barrel of Monkeys will increase dexterity while reinforcing Bible knowledge.  One way to use the monkey is to give children a verse from the Bible to memorize.  As they say each word, they then qualify themselves to pick up a monkey.  Example:  God.  So.  Loved.  The.  World.  He.  Gave.  His. Only. Begotten.  Son.  John.  3.  16.  All the children can chant the words while each takes a turn stringing monkeys.

Dominoes is also great for teaching Bible verses—given a few strips of masking tape.  Cover the dots with one word of a Bible verse such as Psalm 1:1:  “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the way of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit where the scornful and mockers gather.”  Throw all the taped dominoes into a basket, then spread it out on the table after repeating the verse a few times.  Have the kids connect the words in the proper order.

Games such as these have lasted the decades because they are inherently fun, and no amount of electronic games and sophisticated new additions are introduced to the world of “play.”  By using them in Sunday school classes, you are promoting an important message:  Christianity also lasts the ages and stays fun, no matter how much sophistication is added to the world.  Though he adapts to the times, Jesus is fun and relevant yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).