Tag Archives: Children’s Sermons

Attention of Compassion Luke 7:11-17 3rd Sunday after Pentecost June 5, 2016

 

You will need a partner for this who is good at ‘not paying attention’ until the last noise. They could even be acting as if they are sad or very distracted.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Have your partner off to the side looking away. Start to welcome them and tell them the story and then interrupt yourself and say, “oh, ______ (name), hey, come join us! I want you to hear this story.”  Person should look around but not turn towards you or the person can just keep his/her head down.

Hhhmmm… kids, I know this person has been kind of distracted and even sad lately… I think hearing from Jesus could help… could one of you go tap ____ on the shoulder and see if he/she will come over?

Huh, it’s like ____doesn’t even hear us… maybe we should get louder. Come up with a loud noise you can do together like clapping or snapping.

Hhhmmm… being loud did not work… being annoying did not work… how can we show _____ our love? Take suggestions. Then go over to the person and either give a nice pat or hug and say we care about you, will you come sit with us. The person can look up in surprise even and say thank you and come over.

20130822-223633.jpgWhat worked in getting _____ to come sit with us? Showing some love. Or another word is compassion. Compassion is when we see and know someone else is having a difficult time or feeling bad and we have a desire to do something, to help them. Jesus today in the gospel saw a woman who was weeping because her son had died. He had big compassion for her and even though he had all these people crowded around him and wanting his attention, the woman did not notice him right away. Jesus went to her and said, stop crying–which is what got her attention right away! She wanted to see what Jesus would do. Jesus healed her son, brought him back to life. The Bible tells us he had compassion for her–he felt for her and he could not help but take action. It is another story of God’s big love for people! That our feelings, our grief, our life, our death are all things that God loves brings to life.

20130822-223749.jpgGod of big compassion, give us eyes and ears and hearts to see those around us who need your big love. Fill our hearts and eyes and ears and minds with your big love so we remember you are filled with compassion for us too. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgMay you have and give compassion in Jesus’ name +

 

FaithCross_WorshipAt the end of the children’s message in the pews or tables around your sanctuary have small paper hearts. Ask people to write the name of a person, place, or issue that they have compassion for on the heart. Have another very large heart cut out of paper that all the other hearts can fit into. Or an outline of a heart on a wall or large mural. Ask people to place their hearts inside the big heart. Make a sign over the big hear that says God’s Big Compassion and Love Heart for All. As people add a heart they can lift up their passion and compassion in prayer.

Children’s Sermon July 13, 2014 Pentecost 5A, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Preparation: Bring in one vegetable seed and some examples of the food that it makes – for example, bring in one corn kernel and an ear of corn.  Even better if it is a seeds that could be planted and then grow!

For the worship station – you will need some butcher paper, a black marker, some tape and some colored sticky dots.

20130822-223633.jpg   If you are not too pressed for time, I always think that it is fun to quickly retell this story and have the children act it out.  Don’t read it, just retell it!  Have someone be the sower, have some children be the seeds, you will need some birds, too!  All of the children can join together at the end when the seed grows and returns a good crop.  Then you can wrap up by going through a little bit of Jesus explanation.

If this is going to be too long you can just briefly tell retell the four places the seeds fall and  jump right to the explanation below.

20130822-223454.jpg  Wow!  That was really fun, but do you know what it all means?  Yeah, neither did the disciples!  So Jesus took a little time to explain it.  He said that sometimes, when we tell people about our faith that they might say mean things, or that we are silly for believing in any of that stuff.  That is like the seeds on the path that got eaten by the birds.  Or, maybe we hear about Jesus but we really just want to play with our iPads, or phones, or we get caught up in playing sports or acting in plays or whatever, and we think those things are more important than God.  That is like the seeds that land in the thorns and get choked by weeds and can’t grow.  Or maybe we get really excited about something at church, but it doesn’t really turn out the way we hoped, so we just decide not to go back to church anymore.  That is like the seeds in the rocky soil that don’t have good roots and just fall over.

But then there is the good soil, and it returns a hundredfold, or maybe sixty or thirty . . . ok, wait, what does that mean?  Well, I brought in a seed to see if we can figure this out.  OK, here is a corn kernel.  It really doesn’t look like much, does it?  And it is not very expensive, either.  I could pretty easily scatter a handful of these in my garden and just hope that one or two would grow and I would probably have at least a few corn plants.  Then, each of those corn plants would grow (I hope!) several ears of corn, like this!  How many kernel are on this?  More than one, that’s for sure, maybe there are 50 or even a hundred, just like the story says, and this is just one ear of corn!  All this from a tiny, inexpensive seed.

Jesus is saying that our faith, and the faith we share with others can be like that, too!  Some of it might not grow, for all kinds of reasons, but if even the littlest part of our faith takes root in ourselves or in someone else it will grow beyond anything that we can imagine.

FaithCross_PrayALT God of Creation, we praise and thank you for sowing seeds of faith in us.  Help us to continue to scatter the seeds of our faith knowing that faith will not always grow, but that when it does it will be amazing!  Amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT +Go and be Good Soil and a faith sower +

FaithCross_Worship The general idea is to create something big out of little pieces, so this could take many different forms!  I will go through the example of making sticker flowers with round colored stickers, but if could be a whole congregation Lego project, or a kick off for a summer food drive, or school supply drive.

For the flowers, tear off a big sheet of butcher paper or art paper.  If can be whatever color you want (green would match the season!)  Then draw a couple of flower stems, make them big, and add leaves and a block circle at the top that will be the center of the flower.  Invite people to stick a dot on the paper to help build a large colorful flower around the circle at the top of the stems.

Before they put the dot on the paper, ask them to think about what keeps their faith from growing?  Then have them categorize it as P (path), W (weeds), or R (rocks) and write that letter on the dot.

Some examples might help people decide – for Path it might be things like the way other Christians behave, or hearing that believing in God is silly or stupid.  For the Weeds think of things like money worries, sports teams, clubs, video games.  For rocks think of disappointments and missed expectations.

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

Easter Sunday Year A Matthew 28:1-10

See Easter Alleluia sermon for another option or other years for other ideas.
Preparation: Butterfly stickers or small give aways that are in the shape of butterflies (or a picture or a coloring page with butterflies)

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! (teach them to say this if they do not know) Alleluia!

 

20130822-223633.jpgToday we hear the story of Jesus raising from the dead–the story where the tomb is empty! There was a phrase repeated a couple of times in that story–did anyone catch it? It was Do not be afraid–this is something that God wants us to know for sure, that we are not alone and that Jesus raising from the dead is not something that we need to fear. Now I have with me these butterflies–does anyone know why? Yes, a butterfly is a symbol for Easter because a butterfly starts as a caterpillar and then goes into a chrysalis and then becomes a butterfly–something new but still the same. I often wonder about how that caterpillar might feel as soon as it goes into the darkness–how do you feel if you are in darkness? Yes, it can make us a little nervous or even just unsure about what will happen next. Jesus’ disciples were not sure what to think. The women at the tomb found it empty and ran to tell the others about this news and they were amazed! The butterfly helps us remember new life and the words of God to not be afraid, no matter what darkness you are facing Jesus is with you.

If you have a butterfly to hand out go ahead and to that here saying I hope that when you see a butterfly you will remember the story of Easter and of God’s love for you in all times.

20130822-224425.jpgLet’s pray together: Jesus, we celebrate with Alleluias today! We praise you for the promise that you are with us all the time. Help us to know your Holy Spirit in our world and in our hearts. Amen

 

Children’s Sermon Lent 5A John 11: 1-44

Preparation:  a rope or string that you can tie around your wrists loosely, Lazarus Painting/picture (see link below for one, you can also google it and look in images)

20130822-223454.jpgGather the children with you.  Show them your bound wrists. Say, “Hmm, I seem to have a problem here….. ummm… My hands are somehow tied up here… do you think anyone can help me?” Let the kids help or plant an older child to help them get you free. You can also tie up someone else’s hands and find ways to work together with the children to unbind that person.

20130822-223633.jpg“Whew, that was not easy but thank you for helping me. You know we just heard that story about Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus had died and when someone died in that time period they were wrapped up (show a picture of this if possible–here is a link to one: Lazarus painting). See how he is wrapped up in cloth and there are people around him? Well I noticed that Jesus did tell Lazarus to get up or rise, he told him to come out of the tomb, which was like a cave, and then Jesus told the people there to unbind him and let him go. Jesus was there to call Lazarus back from the dead, but Jesus also asked his friends and family to participate, to help in freeing Lazarus. So I was thinking… there are lots of things that can bind us up–maybe not exactly like a rope around our wrists, but things in life that may be hard, make us feel bad or make us think that we are not good enough or loved enough. What do you think, do you have things that ever make your heart or your mind feel like they are bound up? (take answers but help them along) Yes, things like missing someone we love, or having a big test, or something hard happening with our family or friends. It may even make our stomachs feel tight or our hearts sad. You know, Jesus says something else in this story. He says I am the resurrection and I am the life. That is Jesus’ promise, that we have life and love and healing in him no matter what is happening in our lives. So all those things that can bind us up–they can’t keep us bound. Jesus brings us new life over and over again. And Jesus sends other people into our lives to help us to be unbound–like our family and friends who love us, hug us when we are hurting and help us when things are hard. And sometimes Jesus asks us to be those people for others too. And this is a promise from God too, that no matter what is holding on to us, we are free to know God’s love and to love others.

20130822-223749.jpgLet’s pray, “Jesus, you set us free in love to know you and to love others. Help us to pray to about the things that bind us up and help us to remember your love surrounds us at all times. Amen”

20130822-223908.jpgGod in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right + (do this while making the sign of the cross and showing kids how to join in with you if you have not done this before)

 

Children’s Sermon Epiphany 6A Deuteronomy 30: 15-20, Matthew 5:21-37

Preparation: Take the  biggest paper or sheet that you have and make a BIG heart, markers or crayons, and a Valentine you received if you did receive one(and if you did not receive one, I am sorry and God loves you and so do I)
optional–smaller hearts cut out of paper

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children up front. “So, did any of you get or give a Valentine this week?” (take answers) “Me too, I especially like the one my dad (or whoever) gave me because even though I know he loves me it was really nice to get this card as a reminder.”

20130822-223633.jpg“We heard some difficult to understand readings from the Bible today. I heard a lot of words about how we can live together as a community and what things not to do. One part that stuck out for me is that it says in Deuteronomy that all these ways of living out the commandments God gives us are ways that we can walk with God and live with one another. It can be difficult to figure that out sometimes–do you every problems with the people you live with? Me too, sometimes I get frustrated or sad or angry, these things we all feel sometimes. We can also remember though that the commandments from God and the rules we live with in a home or at school or work or daycare come from a place of hope that love will be the first thing we are about.”

“So how big of love do you think God has for us? This much? (put your fingers a little bit a part) or this much? (put your hands a part) No? This much? put your arms wide. I know that God’s love is so big and wide that we can’t even imagine it because it stretches over the whole world holding all people. I thought I’d try though and I made this God sized Valentine (bring out your large Valentine). Now I know that it can’t find the actually whole world in it but I would like us to imagine it does and that all the ways that we help other people or show love to those that we even have a difficult time with can fit in this heart. Especially I want you to know that YOU fit in this heart and that God’s commandments and love are for you.”

Have each child put their name in the heart–You could also have smaller cut out hearts that you hand out for them to put their name on and then stick to the big heart. You could have them do this right then or if you have a sacred space time or a prayer time or even at offering have the children come up and put their hearts in God’s heart.

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, thank you for your commandments of love. Help us to love one another as we walk with you.

 

20130822-223908.jpgYou are loved child of God

 

Children’s Sermon Epiphany 5A Matthew 5:13-20

Preparation: you will need salt and a candle

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Ask, “Did you notice anything in the gospel reading today?” (or if they have not heard it, summarize for them) Take answers. “I noticed that Jesus was talking to us about how to be in the world and he used two things that I think are pretty common…. salt and light.”

20130822-223633.jpgRead or summarize how Jesus uses salt and light to give examples of how we are to be in the world. Show them the salt and say, “So, what is it about salt that it does that makes it special? Well nothing really, salt is just being salt, being what it was made to me. How about this candle? (light the candle) what is it doing to be special in the world? Right, it’s shining light–it’s just doing what it was made to do too. Jesus is saying the same thing to us–that being who we are, and being in the world as God made us is giving light and life and saltiness to the world. God claims us as children and says that everything we are is precious to God and we can use our gifts and our love and our hearts to show the world what God is like. That God is love and opens this gift to everyone.”

You can also teach the song “If I were a Butterfly” by Brian Howard
For time you can even just teach one verse and the chorus.

20130822-223749.jpgHoly God, thank you for making us your children and help us to show your love. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpgYou are a precious child of God made to light up the world with Jesus’ love +

Children’s Sermon Luke 16:19-31 Pentecost 19C September 29, 2013

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children up front with you and welcome them. Divide the children in half by something like boys and girls, or by hair color –  something so that they are obviously ‘different’ groups. Talk about what is different. Then have a boy and girl or a couple boys and girls create a ‘bridge’ between the two groups. Have each child go under the bridge to show that they are all in one group now. (an alternative idea would be to show the children pictures of bridges that go across a chasm and describe how a bridge connects two sides)

20130822-223633.jpg Summarize the gospel or read from the Storybook Bible pg. 387.

Say, “Lazarus and the rich man were divided by this big space. What were the things that made them different?” (take answers, getting across the idea that they lived totally different lives, wealth and poverty and that the rich man did not even see Lazarus as a person deserving his help or attention) “Jesus is telling this story to show that it does not matter what kind of differences or chasm is between us and other people we are free to reach out and help anyone, no matter if they are a different person or different religion or different way of living. Also, Jesus is like this bridge. Because he came to show that God has love for all people, Jesus bridges all those things that divide us and connects us together. We are all one through Christ. So just like you came through that bridge from your two different groups, Jesus brings all people together no matter their differences.”

20130822-223749.jpgGod, Thank you for sending Jesus to be like a bridge. Help us to see others who are different from us and be your love in the world. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpgGod in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right +

Children’s Sermon Luke 16:1-13 Pentecost 18C September 22, 2013

Preparation: a chalice filled with stickers or small candies or something that the kids can have.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children together and welcome them. Hold up the chalice and say: Anyone know what I have here? (take answers) Yes, this is called a chalice, it’s the cup that we can hold wine or grape juice in for communion.

20130822-223633.jpgSo I was thinking about this cup and what we usually put in it. And our gospel story today tells about a master, a rich man with people working for him, who rewarded a manager who was not really honest with this money. **Use the Spark Storybook Bible to tell the story in a simple fashion. “Well, it’s an interesting story because it does not seem like the master should reward the manager; it seems like he should punish him instead. But he offers him what we would call grace instead. It certainly seems like a strange way to show grace–would you show grace if your brother or sister gave a way part of your allowance? No probably not, so that is where the chalice comes in.”

FaithCross“See in this story it’s like God is saying grace is everywhere, really and truly everywhere even when it has no business being there. And this chalice is something that shows us grace every week by being here and being full”–now act like you are going to spill the wine and make show of it and let it start to spill out the stickers or small candies. “Uh-oh, if the wine spills it has no business being on the carpet, what will do, I will be in trouble with… (name janitor or pastor or whoever)”. Then let the other things spill and say, “What, these stickers/candies aren’t supposed to be in the chalice! Well, I guess I am glad that they were instead of wine! Grace shows up in all kinds of ways, even where we think that maybe it should not be and for that we can be grateful because God’s grace shows up for us.”

20130822-224425.jpgGod, thank you for your grace that is surprising and present and for us in all ways. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpgGod in your head, God in your heart, God on your left, God on your right +

Children’s Sermon Luke 15:1-10 Pentecost 17C September 15, 2013

Preparation: create a memory game or use one that you have. Either put some simple pictures on index cards or get small boxes you can hid objects under. Have one object missing purposely without a match. You will want to only have 3-5 object sets for time constraints.

20130822-223454.jpgGather children up front with you. Have the memory game ready and welcome them. Say, I have this game with me today–anyone every played ‘memory’ before? Let’s try it.

Have one child help you with the turning the cards or lifting the boxes. If you have a small number of kids they can take turns, a large number you will want them to just point while you or one child turns items over. Play until you have the matches all but one.

20130822-223633.jpgHmm, where is the match for this one? Anyone able to find it? I wonder where it went? Should we look for it? Start looking in places close to you. You can make this as long or as short as you want. Find the match in your pocket or someplace near you. Oh, there it is! I wonder how it got there? I am so glad we found this match! We can finish the game! Phew, the game would have been ruined if we didn’t find the match! I do not like it when things are lost.. do you? Have you every been lost? (take answers briefly).

Jesus tells us a story today about a lost sheep and a lost coin. The people who lost them, looked everywhere until they were able to find them. And the ones that were lost, well they couldn’t do much of anything to be found just like our card (or whichever object you had lost) could make a noise or cry out or move to be found, could it? Well that is what this story is about–that God loves you SO MUCH that even if you are lost or even if you aren’t sure about God or have questions about your faith, God will find you. God promises you are always one of her children and that you are found because you belong to God. And I was pretty happy I found that piece, so I could finish the game. Well God is so happy to have you as a child that God throws a party and rejoices and does a happy dance and promises to never leave you.

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, you are always looking for us and we thank you for your love that finds us. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpgGod rejoices over you!