Children’s Sermon John 17: 1-11, Easter 7 Year A, June 1, 2014

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have a 2×8 (or so) strip of paper for each person in the congregation. You will be making a paper chain of prayers. Have a large enough cross available to place the chain of prayers on the cross. You will also need clear tape.

FaithCross_ConnectALT For this children’s time have the children stay with their families instead of bringing them forward. Ask all the people gathered to shout out what time of day they pray. Before a meal, bed or other times? Do they use formulaic prayers such as the common table prayer? Or their own words?

FaithCross_BibleALTAsk everyone gathered for worship, “Turn to the person next to you and tell about a time when you were so excited or worried about something that you couldn’t wait to tell someone. GO!” (Give them a couple of minutes.) We love to share with someone when we are excited or worried don’t we? Well, Jesus is showing us today in this story from John, that prayer can be like that: something that we are excited, nervous or worried about God wants us to talk to her about! We don’t have to use fancy words and it doesn’t have to be a special time. We can talk to God anytime, anywhere about anything!

God hears and understands our prayers no matter what all of the time. What’s important to us is what is important for God to hear. Talking to God about everything helps to connect us to God and to know that God is with us always. Prayer also connects us to each other as the people of God. We can pray for each other as Jesus prays for his disciples and we can pray for all people to love each other.

FaithCross_PrayALTFaith+ Prayer: Depending on the size of your congregation or how you choose to do children’s message today, have either a group of about 8 children volunteer to help pray at the end or go around your worship space. Do the “one word prayer” where someone starts off with saying one word and then as you work around the group each person adds one word. Example: Dear. Jesus. Thank. You. For. Today. This might take a little while but its fun to build off of each other in prayer!

FaithCross_BlessALT Make the sign of the cross and say: In God you have eternal life.

*Faith + Worship: Prayers don’t even have to be words, they can be thoughts or songs or pictures! Today during Open Space (sacred reflection time) you can draw, write, or doodle a prayer to God on this strip of paper. (About 2 x8) When you are done writing/drawing connect your strip of paper to the pray of your neighbors like a paper chain on the cross. (Have a cross of some decent size with a paper circle already started for the chain. Have this station where it is accessible from all sides for ease. Tape them together on the inside where nothing is written or drawn if you can.) All of our prayers connect us to God and to each other. After worship, find another person’s prayer to take home for the week to pray.

Keeping up with what God is doing!

ffjChildrenSermonChange is good! Or at least we hope that you will think so. Beginning June 8th, (Pentecost Sunday) Faith Formation Journeys weekly devotional will have a new look and focus. We will also be making some small changes to the Children’s Sermons. Why you ask? We don’t know about you, but in our congregations (Colorado, USA) the gathering for worship that happens primarily on Sunday mornings is shifting, faith formation opportunities and experiences are shifting and how faith communities are engaging their neighborhoods in which they are located is shifting. God is up to something and we feel that it’s very exciting and we want to walk with you and your faith community on this journey! We recognize that faith practices that are accessible to households of all  configurations is vital and necessary, so some of those pieces in our weekly devotional will be enhanced. How is it that we can live the message from the biblical scripture in our daily lives? How do  we practice thinking deeply about how God meets all of us in our lives, whether we are 8 years old and in the third grade or 80 years old and in an assisted living facility?

We want to equip our readers to really wrestle with what it means to live a life of faith in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. We hope to help congregations connect what happens on Sunday morning with what happens in people’s lives Monday-Saturday and to what God is doing in their neighborhood. In our “Faith + Connect” section,  ideas for doing just that will be offered.

We also recognize that part of this shift is also about what happens when the community gathers for Sunday (or whenever) worship. The insight that active engagement with the biblical text enhances learning for all ages as well as retention of the message. Opportunities for all ages gathered to interact with one another during worship is a part of this engagement. In our Children’s Sermons, we will be adding a worship station idea or two each week to help you spark ideas for your context for cross generational worship opportunities.

As always, we are grateful for the support and the feedback from those of you who frequent this resource. Please give us your honest thoughts on these changes. We would love to start a dialogue on this site for idea swapping, support and affirmation as we try and keep up with what the Holy Spirit is doing among us all! God is at work in the world and we are blessed in our call to participate. It’s an exciting time to be the Church and we are blessed to be the Church with all of you! In Christ, Brigette, Gus and Leta

Children’s Sermon John 14:15-21, Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 25, 2014

Preparation: Have a picture of your mom or dad or another family member that you may resemble. Doesn’t have to be exact.

20130822-223520.jpg  Gather the children. Say, “I have this picture of my mom (or whomever) and it’s interesting because we have some similarities. We have the same color hair, eyes, height. But more than that, she and I both like fish, both play piano, and both like to ski. We are alike in many ways. Some of this is that we are related and so we share genetic traits, some of this is that we spent a lot of time together. Families are very important. They shape us and we tend to be like someone in our family. Who are you like in your family? Do you and your siblings like similar things? Or with your mom and dad, aunt uncle? Has anyone in your family ever told you that you are like someone else in your family? Yes, we can be like our family members and share likes, dislikes, hair color, words we use, etc.

Do you ever wonder what Jesus means when he talks about the fact that God is in Jesus and Jesus is in us and we are a part of each other? That we share life together? It’s really confusing and hard to think about isn’t it? We can’t really explain it well because we can’t see God in us and in others but just like we share traits with our families, Jesus says that we share traits with him and with God. The biggest trait that we share is love. Jesus says this is how everyone will know that you are part of God’s family is by showing love. Just like people may know that you are part of your family you live with by how you look or act, Jesus says by showing love you for every person, then everyone will know that you are part of God’s family. When we all share this love it connects us like family. Jesus says that everyone is in God’s family and promises to be with us always to help us remember that.

What are ways that Jesus showed love? (Accept all answers) What are ways that we can show love? (Accept all answers) These are great ways to show God’s love and to include everyone in the family of God!

20130822-223749.jpg  Dear Jesus, thank you for being with us always. Thank you for showing us how to be like God and love everyone. Thank you for making us one big family in your love! Amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT  Have kids go to their families and people in the congregation turn to one another and make the sign of the cross and say, “Jesus loves you and so do I.”

Worship station idea: Invite people to bring a picture to share of their family and have a big piece of butcher paper shaped like a heart (or more than one) to tape them to. Have families write their last name and one similarity or unique thing about their family. If you can’t do pictures-have them draw their family and do the name piece or just do the name and unique family trait. Have a another station close by for people to write prayers for their families and neighbors.



Children’s sermon John 14: 1-14 Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A May 18th, 2014

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have a couple of maps handy to show the children. Have one that is very simple that even a young child could point to a well defined location on the map. Use that map for your object lesson. Have crosses (one for each child or for everyone present!) cut out some printed off or old maps to hand out.

20130822-223520.jpg Be reading a map as you ask the children to join you where you lead children’s time. Look confused and turn the map every which way. Say to the children, “So I’m trying to figure out how to get to (town or location close to your church marked that they would know). I’m looking at this map but I can’t make heads or tails of it. Can you help me?” Show the children the map and hopefully they will point to the location! If not, you can help them. Say, “Oh thank you so much for pointing the way to ______. I sometimes get a little lost and confused and need help. We have maps and phones to help us get places don’t we? Sometimes we have to ask another person for help too!”

20130822-223633.jpg In the Bible story for today, Jesus is telling the disciples that there is room for everyone in God’s house and that he would soon be returning to God to live there. Jesus says that they should know the way because they have been hanging out with Jesus. But the disciples were confused and didn’t know the way. They were probably thinking that they could use a map! But Jesus tells them that HE is the way. Jesus is like our map in life. When we wonder what to do or say we can look to what Jesus did and said. Should we be nice to people? Yes! Should we help people? Yes! Should we tell people about how much God loves them? Yes! Jesus also says that if we get confused that we should stop and ask someone for help! We need each other to help us to remember the way to love and follow Jesus. Do you think that all of these people here will help you? Yes!

To help us remember that Jesus is our map in life, here is a cross made out of a map for you to take home.

20130822-224425.jpg Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, thank you for showing us the way to love each other. Thank you for reminding us that even if we get confused there are people who will help us. Help us to show your love to everyone. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg Make the sign of the cross on each other and say: Remember that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.


Children’s Sermon Fourth Sunday of Easter, 1 Peter 2:19-25 (and John 10:1-10), May 11, 2014

Prepare:  Find a picture of someone who fought (or is fighting for) human rights – like Martin Luther King Jr., or Nelson Mandela.  I will use Martin Luther King as my example here, but it really doesn’t matter too much who you choose.

20130822-223520.jpg  Have your picture out as the children gather, and ask if any of them know who is in the picture.  If they know who it is, ask them why this person is important.

FaithCross That’s right, this is Martin Luther King.  He wanted equal rights for African Americans.  He tried very hard to be peaceful and kind, but he was also sure that he was doing the right thing.  There were people who were very angry with him for the things that he was saying and for the changes that he wanted people to make in their lives.  He knew that we should treat all people the as beloved children of God.  No one is less of a person than anyone else because they are a boy or a girl, or because their skin is light or dark, or their hair is straight of curly.  We all belong to God.

The sad part of this story is that Martin Luther King was treated badly.  He was arrested, he was beat up, he was yelled at and eventually he was even killed because he knew what was the right thing to do, and he kept doing it.

I thought of Martin Luther King when I reading from 1 Peter.  In that letter, Peter (or maybe Peter’s followers) write that even if it is scary we should keep doing what we know is right, even if we get in trouble for doing it.

Now wait a minute . . . you really have to think about this!  If you’re hungry, is it right to go take all the cookies out of the cookie jar, or steal someone’s lunch?  Is it pushing someone out the way because you are late?  No, doing the right thing is acting with love!  So, instead of taking someone else’s food when you are hungry, it is sharing or giving your food to someone else who is hungry, too.  Instead of pushing someone out of your way, it is stopping to help someone who needs it even if you are going to be later because you stop.

Sometimes acting with love can be the hardest thing to do, too.  Acting with love might mean getting on the bad side of a bully because you help someone who is being bullied, or tell a teacher or adult about the bully.  Acting with love means giving food or help to someone who is homeless even if other people what to ignore them.

At the end of this little passage from 1 Peter, we hear that even if we mess up, Jesus always welcomes us back.  Even when we don’t always act with Love, there is a place for us with Jesus.

20130822-223749.jpg   Loving God, help us to love one another the way that you love us.  Help us to see the ways to act with love and kindness in everything that we do, and forgive us when we mess up and forget to be loving.  Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  Send them out with a traditional Easter greeting!  You say, “Christ is risen!”  They respond, “Christ is risen indeed!”



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