Series Note: In the lectionary year A Pentecost 14 through 17 we read through Philippians as the Epistle each week. The letters of Paul can have challenging content to teach to children (adults too!). We have written a children’s sermon series based on the scripture verses in Philippians. You can use these as a series or on their own. The overarching theme is focused on how we are those who walk with and live as servants of Jesus and yet Rejoice that God is with us in all of our daily living as we strive to “let our gentleness be known and remember the Lord is near” (Phil 4:5 paraphrase).
1. Find a star pattern, write or type the Christ hymn or the Phil 2:1-13 scripture reference, and make enough stars either for the children OR for the whole congregation. You can google star patterns or just draw one and photocopy and cut out for enough copies. If you plan ahead you can get some older kids to cut these out for you!
2. Get baskets to put the stars in.
3. Recruit 2 (or more) kids to hold the baskets during communion. YOu can also use a stand if that works better. These kids will hand out the stars after people have taken common (or when it works best for you in your worship service)
4. Suggested hymn to sing could be “This Little Light of Mine”
Faith+Open: Gather children. “I want to read to you the Christ Hymn that we hear/heard today in Philippians. Listen as I read this because it is telling you a story.” Read or paraphrase verses 5-11. For ideas for actions that can go along with it go to this link atWorshiping with Children.
Faith+Share: “Paul is telling the story of Jesus to the Philippians to help them remember how to tell the story of Jesus to others. What did you hear in this story?” (get at the idea that Jesus came to be with us on earth and that Jesus is also our Lord to be praised)
“How do we tell the story of Jesus?” Get some ideas. Then say, “When we are in worship telling the story of Jesus and our faith in our hymns and prayers and in communion and in listening to the world of God.” Get specific, talk about a certain hymn you are singing that day or tie in the actions of communion as a way that we tell the story of Jesus. If you have a baptism today that is a good example as well.
“Paul says that God is at work in YOU. This means that we are a part of telling the story and showing the story of Jesus. God is work in us and we then are like lights for the world. I have these paper stars here because they remind me of how we try to be lights for God in the world which means we can be blessings to other people and show them Christ. On each star is the Christ Hymn (or the scripture reference) on one side and the other side is blank. I would like you each to have a star and do two things. First, while you are listening to the sermon draw or write a way that you can be a blessing and shine this week. Maybe you can help someone at home or a neighbor. Maybe you can visit someone who is lonely or sick. Maybe you can be nice to someone at school that it’s hard to be nice to. Second I want you to take this star home and put it where you can remember not only to shine for Christ but that Christ is with you all the time. You can put in on your bathroom mirror or fridge or bulletin boat or in your backpack.”
“In fact, I think everyone can do this during the week. So you get your stars now, but grown ups… (address the congregation) you can have a star too. There will be a basket of stars being held for you to pick up after you take communion. Think about how you are going to shine Christ’s light this week and how you are going to remember God is with you. You can put your star on your mirror or fridge or hang in your car or on your bike, wherever you will see it this week.”
“Let’s say our blessing together now. I invite everyone to join us.” (you may need to teach if you have only done this once or if you are using this outside of the series)
Say together the words from Philippians 4:5 (NRSV) while doing the following actions:
Let your gentleness (flat hands palms facing body circle each other) be known to everyone (open hands and arms out). The Lord is near (hands to heart)
Decorate the stars
Have kids write the verse on the stars
Have an area for people to put their stars in the church–perhaps they make one to take home and one to keep at church.