Many adults admit that when they hear the word sermon, they think: Boring!
These adults are also the first to admit that from the time they were born, their parents took them to church, where they were forced to sit still and not fidget during the sermon, which they considered the longest half hour of the week.
A children’s sermon, that can grab a child’s interest in the first sentence and hold it until the last, is the ideal way to change this impression about sermons, and there are five tips that will help you turn it into something so positive that children rush to hear it with the same enthusiasm they rush to the beach or their favorite swimming pool.
First, let me tell you about a Sunday school teacher who reported an ingenious plan that totally cured this problem in her church. The children there do not have this impression of sermons being boring, because the children never sat through an adult one.
During what their church calls “Talk Time”, when neighbor greets neighbor, the children exit to a room nearby where they have “Kids Own Worship”. Here they experience children’s worship through uplifting songs, fun and memorable Bible learning through children’s church lessons.
While this plan has been tremendously successful in one church, it may not be possible in others. However, the secret to successful children’s sermons consists of five basic steps that make the Bible relevant to youth.
Creating an Engaging Sermon for Kids
1. Be certain you know what the scripture means. As one Sunday school teacher explained: “I loved going to Sunday school as a child, and I adored Bible stories, but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized what these stories really meant. “Jonah and the Whale,” for example was one of my favorites, but I think I lost the meaning by confusing the story with Pinocchio, and I can still visualize that picture of Geppetto sitting in his boat in the whale’s belly.
As an adult, I looked “Jonah and the Whale” up in my concordance, and I was shocked to discover that the point of “Jonah and the Whale” is: You can not runaway or hide from God. Now, before I prepare a lesson, I check the concordance first, so the children will not make the same mistakes I made.
2. To make the story relevant to youth, it is imperative that you find some way to apply it to present day life. While it wouldn’t be too difficult for you to dream up a tale about a boy who wouldn’t listen when God spoke to him and tried to hide, you might be surprised at the answers you get if you asked the students to come up with an example. It would be wise to have a back up example ready, just in case, but students will amaze you with the experiences they have had in school or while playing sports, and you might find yourself with a dozen examples.
3. One of the most important things to remember if you want the story to be relevant to youth is to tell it in their language. As one Sunday school teacher explained, “One of the stories that impressed me most was called, “Moses Thinks He’s a Dork”, and from beginning to end, the story of Moses was told in today’s teen vernacular, and it made for delightful and entertaining reading.
4. Visual props will also be a great asset in making the story relevant. Pictures can be used, or any prop that adds to the story like a soccer ball, a basket ball, a football helmet, or even a set of shoulder pads that make the person wearing them look gigantic and tough, when he’s actually no bigger than anyone else.
5. Leave them with one simple thought. It can be an outgrowth of a scripture, but it should accent the event in a simple phrase, like: “You cannot hide from God.” You could even add: “You may go to the ends of the earth, but nowhere can you hide from God.”
When Bible stories become relevant to the world today, they become something of value and far more than a history lesson. In each story there is a message that applies to life today as strongly as it did when it was written.