Children’s Sermon – Mark 9:38-50, September 27, 2015

Prepare: Bring a small, clear container of sea salt – even better if you can find something fancy!

The worship station will need a box of unsalted rice crackers, and a box of salted rice crackers (you can use whatever you like here, really, but rice crackers generally avoid most food allergies).

20130822-223520.jpg Have the children gather around you so that they can all see the salt. Ask them if they know what it is.

After a few guesses (right or wrong) confirm that it is salt, and ask if anyone would be willing to try some. Ask what it is like to have salt all by itself? Does it taste good?

20130822-223633.jpg Today, in the Gospel story, Jesus says some very strange things, and most of them are exaggerations to get our attention. Jesus wants us to think about who we are and what it means for us to be following him. One of the things he says is that we should be “Salted with fire.” I’m not sure that I like the sound of that! When I salt something, that means I sprinkle salt on it, I don’t think that I want to be sprinkled with fire. But, did you know that salting something has a different meaning? Salt was, and still is, used to keep food from going bad. People use salt to make sure that meat does not get moldy. Pickles are kept in a salty liquid called brine. 

So we can hear the end of this story a couple different ways. Salt, in small amounts, can add flavor to the foods that we eat. In fact, most of the foods we like have at least some salt in them or on them to make them taste better. Salt is also necessary for baking things! Bread without salt is dry and crumbly, it just doesn’t work. So Jesus might be saying that we need to be flavored with fire – that we are made better when we deal with difficult things and learn from them.

Then there is salt used to keep food from spoiling. Jesus could also be saying that we should be salty so that we can survive the trials of life. We should be salty so that we can preserve the Good News of Jesus and have it ready to feed to anyone who needs to hear it!

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, preserve us and keeps us so that we can be your “salty” people. Make us ready to share your good news and love with the world around us.


FaithCross_WorshipHave a table set out with the two kinds of crackers (or whatever you choose).  Invite people to try one of each and reflect on what they taste.  Which one do they like better? What makes it better?

Find a way to join in prayer – either a pop-corn prayer, or collect slips of paper with prayer requests, etc.  Ask for prayers where about places and people that need a little, or a lot of salt. Things that need to be flavored with God’s love, or preserved from the destructive forces of this world.

20130822-223908.jpgYou are salty, go add flavor to the world!


May your life teach about Jesus, Mark 8: 27-38, Children’s Sermon, Sept. 13th, 2015, Pentecost 16B

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children and have a children’s Bible with you or any Bible will do. Say, “How many of you know your ABC’S (you can sing the song if you like!)? How did you learn them? Singing the song everyday? Lot’s of practice? When I want to learn to do something well, like when I learned to play the violin, I practiced every day.  I didn’t always feel like practicing and I didn’t like it when something was too hard at first, but I kept at it as I knew that was the only way to get better. “ Ask them, “ What do you know about Jesus?” Accept all answers. Ask them,  “ How do you know those things about Jesus?” Accept all answers. Probably someone will say bible. Talk about how the Bible helps us to know a little bit about Jesus and God. “Does it tell us everything about God? NO! We also learn about God all day long in our daily lives from parents, siblings,  friends, SS teachers, choir directors, youth directors, maybe even pastors! What do these people tell us or show us about Jesus?” Accept all answers. Say, “Yes, every day we learn a little more about Jesus from each other don’t we? When they forgive us, pray with us, even tell us things that we don’t understand sometimes! What if we have a day where we don’t feel like showing people the love of Jesus? Yeah, we all have days like that don’t we. Me too!

20130822-223633.jpg In our Mark story today, the disciples are learning that they don’t know everything about Jesus yet. Jesus was telling them some HARD things! Such as people would make fun of Jesus, hurt him, and he would die! No one wants to hear of their friend getting hurt and so Peter was upset! I would be too! But Jesus knew that Peter didn’t know everything about him or God. Peter was still learning just like us! We learn our whole lives and Jesus says that the point of our lives is to seek God and to show other people the love of God. Seems easy but it’s also really hard! When we have to learn something hard at school like spelling words or math facts what do we do? We practice them every day! Loving and following Jesus is no different we have to practice it every day! We don’t have to be perfect, just try. Loving Jesus doesn’t mean that we are perfect or that everything at school is perfect, or that we will have lots of friends or get straight A’s.  Jesus says life with God is all about practicing to love God even when it’s hard or we don’t feel like it. That’s how much Jesus loves us!

20130822-223749.jpgDear Jesus, we love to learn about you! Thank you for all of the ways that we learn about you all day long from our families, our friends and everyone who loves us. We want to teach other people about God’s love too! Thank you for being with us even when it’s hard. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship Have a cross from you worship space or some other wooden and fairly free standing cross on a table or on the floor in a place where it is easily accessible. Have post-it notes and pens, markers, etc available for people to write the names of those who have taught them about Jesus in their lives. Place those post-it notes on the cross and offer a prayer in the worship service for the people in our lives who teach us about Jesus even when it’s hard and we don’t feel like hearing about Jesus. Have note cards available for people to write either 1) thank you notes to those who have taught them about Jesus or 2) a note to tell someone that Jesus love them, or both! (You could deliver these to an assisted living facility, a shelter, a police or fire station, etc.

20130822-223908.jpg +May your life teach about Jesus+

Children’s Sermon – September 6, 2015, Mark 7:24-37

Prepare: For the worship station you will need some way to vote, like a large piece of paper and post-it notes, or some large jars and some beans or beans.

20130822-223520.jpg As the children’s sermon time approaches find some place in the worship space where you can “hide,” but where everyone can see you.  Work with the other worship leaders to set up a time for the children to search for you. When they find you gather in your usual place.

20130822-223633.jpg OK, maybe I was being a little silly.  I mean, you all know that I was here!  That kind of reminds me of Jesus in our story today. He keeps trying to stay out of the spotlight, but everyone knows where he is! A woman who is not really accepted in the community finds him and asks him to heal her daughter. Anther group of people bring their friend to Jesus so that Jesus can open his ears and let him hear. All this happens when Jesus is trying to have a little quiet time, but everyone know where he is!

People seem to be coming to Jesus for several different reasons, but they all have one thing in common – they have faith that Jesus can do something about it – whatever “it” is. People come who are sick, or who need guidance, or food, or just need to be loved. This story is interesting because the two people that Jesus heals didn’t even bring themselves to Jesus – in fact, one person doesn’t even show up! Family and friends are showing up at Jesus’ feet to get help for the people that they love.

Sometimes we need to show up for our friends and family, sometimes we need to be the ones who have faith when other people cannot. So, I am going to start a prayer and I want you to think of someone who could use a little more Jesus in their life. You are welcome to share that name out loud, our you can just say it silently in your heart when we get there.

20130822-224425.jpgLoving God, sometimes having faith is really hard. Sometimes we want to show up and be with you and we just can’t find the way. Today we offer prayers for our friends who could use your love in their lives, hear us as we pray for _______________ . Amen

20130822-223908.jpgGod’s love shines through you.

FaithCross_WorshipSet up your jars for a game of “Would you rather?” If you don’t know this game, it usually involves having to choose between to disgusting things that no one would ever want to do, but we are going to Baptize it!  You can have as many “would you rathers” as you want. The idea is to ask some hard questions and get people thinking about sharing their faith with the people that they love, and inviting those people to come to church with them. IT should be two options that are both good ideas, not, “would you rather eat a doughnut or invite a friend.”

You should come up with ideas that speak to the needs of your community, but here are some ideas –

Would you rather:

  1. Invite that friend from school, work, or the gym to come check out what you do every Sunday?
  2.  Stand on the corner on Sunday morning and invite complete strangers into the building? or
  1. Would you rather volunteer to visit people in the hospital? or
  2. Work at the homeless shelter for a day?
  1. Make phone calls to new members and visitors? or
  2. Take communion to a homebound member?




Ritual of Love Mark 7:1-8 Pentecost 14B August 30,2016

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you at the baptismal font. Ask if anyone knows what this is called? Yep, it is the place we baptize, we get the person’s, often a baby, head wet and declare that they are a child of God. And YOU can remember your baptism, or remember you are a loved child of God even if you are not baptized, by putting your hand in the water and marking the sign of the cross. Let them try that briefly. Then direct to sit down.

Baptism is something that we call a ritual. It is a practice of the church to say certain prayers and blessings over a person getting baptized and it is a ritual that you have you remember and mark yourself with the water. A ritual is something we do again and again and often it reminds us of something. So let’s think a minute. Are there any rituals you do every day? (take answers and lead them to things like brushing teeth, washing hands. getting dressed, eating, sleeping) Yes! Those are rituals that are a part of every day.

20130822-223633.jpgSo our gospel today from Mark is Jesus telling some church people that the rituals that they are doing are not totally helping them… hmmm, that is kind of confusing because they were doing what God told them, to keep wash their hands and to keep clean  and staying away from certain foods. But they were also angry with Jesus and his followers because they were not doing those things. Jesus says, stop. You are using these rituals, these rules to only honor God on the outside but your heart is not focused on love and care for other people. God gave these rituals for loving and caring for others, not for being angry or hurting them.

So if we use a ritual, like baptism, to say that someone else is not ok or not loved then we are not talking about God. God opens up love to everyone. Jesus teaches us today that the ritual is good for helping us remember and that God’s love is over and above any ritual and is for all people.

Now, the ritual of remembering baptism can be a part of every day too, anytime you use water–for a bath, a shower, brush your teeth, to cook or to drink, You can remember God’s love for you and God’s love for your family and friends and even people you do not know! Pretty neat, right?

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, you give love and ritual. Help us to share our rituals in love and teach others about your way. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgMay you know God’s never ending ritual of love


FaithCross_WorshipHave a hand washing station with a bowl of water, a little soap and some towels. Invite people to wash their hands while remembering God’s love for them. They could pray a prayer of thankfulness or pray for another person or simply recite the Lord’s prayer as they wash.

God’s Words of Eternal Life and Love For Us All John 6: 56-69, Pentecost 13B, August 23, 2015

20130822-223520.jpgHave the children gather around the communion table. Ask them to tell you what happens at this table and in the worship service in regards to communion. Encourage them to tell you and the whole congregation, the story of the Last Supper and what Jesus is doing/offering in Holy Communion. Let them (if you’re comfortable) touch some of the things on the altar.

(In my ELCA tradition, some congregations do not commune children until a “first communion” class has been taken and some offer communion as soon as they have teeth. I personally, defer to offering communion to all ages and offer classes once a year for whole families to engage in the conversation of “What is Holy Communion?” Please tweak this Children’s Sermon to meet your congregation’s theology and tradition! Know that Faith Formation Journeys is here to support and honor your ministry! Thank you for your partnership!)

20130822-223633.jpg In our Bible lesson today, we heard Jesus talk about eating his body as if it were bread. Kinda weird huh? But, Jesus also reminds the people around him, his disciples, of the story of the Israelites who wandered around the desert for 40 years and God gave them manna or bread that came from heaven every single night. Jesus was reminding them that God over and over tells us a story of love, life, and being with God forever. And Jesus is telling people that the story of God’s love-IS FOR EVERYONE! That was so hard for people to hear! God’s story of love was even for people that we don’t like, are different from us, dress differently, act differently, live differently, like different foods, books or are even not nice to us! Are there sometimes people that you sorta hope you don’t have to be nice to? Yes, we all do! But Jesus tells us the story over and over that God LOVES everyone-even people we might not like-and will take care of them just like God takes care of you! Is that hard to believe sometimes? It is for me and even for a lot of adults. God wants all people to know about love and life forever.

So each time we gather at church, we always have communion, which means “together.” God gathers us all together and we all eat the same bread, and drink the same grape juice or wine. Even with people we may not like. Jesus says that when we eat this bread and drink from the cup, we are reminded that God is already so close to us that God is IN us, working in us and through us. If God loves us and is always with us and all people, how can we tell people the story God’s love? (Accept all answers-offer some congregational specific examples that the children could participate in.)

20130822-224425.jpg Dear Jesus, thank you for being the living story of God’s love for us. We are part of God’s story of love for the whole world and may we tell it every single day in every word we say and with every action we do. Your story of love goes on forever and forever through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship Have a good sized booklet or two on a table with markers, crayons, stickers and other materials as needed. On the cover have the logo and name of you congregation. Have blank pages on the inside for people to write/draw part of God’s story in their lives. (You could also have blank sheets unattached and then bind them when finished.) Have this booklet available for a worship station for a few weeks. Find a way to share some of the stories in a corporate, gathered setting. Encourage all ages to participate!

20130822-223908.jpg +Jesus story of eternal life and love is written in you+

Let us walk with you on the journey of faith. Whether your feet are big or small, fresh or worn, running or crawling, God's love goes with you and you stand on holy ground.