Tag Archives: Year A

Philippians Children Sermon Series #1 Phil. 1:21-20

Philippians Children’s Sermon Series

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). 

Preparation: In your context think about or find out what the children or youth specifically or the church together are doing as service in the community or the world. For example, the children’s offering in our congregation is currently going to the Kid’s Cafe portion of our local food bank. Then find another older youth or adult who is willing to be person number 2. Work together to think of three ways you can give as examples of being in service to the community, family, and/or neighbors.

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. “I heard in your Sunday school (or in our church or in our community) we are raising money for (or collecting) __________” So you know I think that is pretty cool–Since I heard you are doing that, I decided I could_______________ (fill in what you are going to do, either contribute or better yet, that it made you think of something you can do in your family or neighborhood).

Faith+Share: Person 2 interrupts (after you have said what you are going to do) “Wow, I think that is a fabulous idea! You know, hearing about how the kids/the church are______________ and that you are __________ I think I can help with those things too but I also know that ________________ needs______________.

Say, “Great idea. That is pretty neat how we have inspired to work together where we are and where we can to be in service in Jesus’ name. It reminds of our reading from Philippians today where Paul says, ‘Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for faith of the gospel.’” (NRSV Phil 1:27–feel free to paraphrase or summarize). We are serving in the Holy Spirit together even when we are doing different things. AND God is with us in our serving and in our daily struggles and in our daily joys.

“I want to teach you a blessing from Philippians that we are going to use for the next few weeks as we read from Philippians in worship. This blessing is on that reminds us how to serve one another with kindness and reminds us that God is with us always.”  (Teach following blessing)

Faith+Blessing: 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)

Children Sermon Pentecost 17A Matthew 22:1-14

Preparation: cross or heart stickers–enough for each child to have 5

Faith+Open: Invite the children to come for children’s time. Begin by showing them a party hat and talking about the last birthday party for a friend that you went to. Read “The Wedding Banquet” parable from the Spark Bible (Augsburg Fortress) or another children’s Bible.

 Faith+Share: How many of you have been to a special party? When you go to a special party how do you dress? How do you act? Are you on good behavior? Why? (Accept all answers. If they need prompting talk how when we are at a friend’s house or a family members house (like grandma and grandpa) 

We want our friends and family to know by how we act that we love them and care about them. Our story from the Bible this morning tells us that God wants everyone to be in God’s family. God invites everyone all over the world to God’s party! That is really special. We are all included because God loves us. How do you think we should act being a part of God’s family? Just as we may put on nice clothes for a party for a friend, some people wear a cross either as a necklace, bracelet, pin or even ring so that God’s love can been seen by everyone.  God puts love in our hearts to share with everyone so that everyone knows that we are in God’s family and they are too!  How can we show God’s love and that everyone is invited into God’s family? (We can be nice to friends and siblings, we can help people, we can tell them about Jesus and God’s love, write cards to neighbors, collect food for the hungry, etc.) I have some cross stickers that I want you to give to friends and family members to share God’s love with them. When you give them a sticker you can tell them that God loves them and so do you! (Have enough stickers so that each child can have one of their own and three or four to give away.)

 Faith+Close: Prayer: Dear loving God, you want all of your children to be included in your love. Help us to share your love with everyone we meet. Your love is like a joyous party that we all can come to! Thank you for the best gift of all your Son Jesus! Amen


Children’s Sermon Pentecost 16A Theme: Living Out Grace

This children’s sermon based on Philippians 2 & 3 can be adapted and used for other texts that focus in on grace as a gift and how that is lived out. For Philippians 2 it focuses on the Christ hymn and the image of Christ come down to us. On Philippians 3 it focuses on grace is a gift and that we have the ‘prize’ of grace and can live that out. 

 The original concept is adapted from a children’s sermon by Pastor Michael Stadtmueller. 

Preparation: A wrapped gift box where you can take off the lid, bread inside the box, a ladder (you could also place the gift box on the altar and ‘pretend’ a ladder)

Faith+Gather: Have the ladder up front with the gift box on top. Gather the children near the ladder, but in a safe sitting position (especially if your ladder is very tall!)
“Look up there at the gift on top of the ladder. We hear a lot about grace in our Bible and one way to think about grace is as a gift. So I was thinking that sometimes we spend a lot of time thinking about how to get that gift.”
Walk over to ladder and get ready to climb.
Ask the children, “What are things that you do to please or serve others?” Get some ideas from the kids or supply your own if they are quiet. Examples could be that we listen to our parents, then climb up one rung. For each example you say, climb another rung but stop before you are at the top.
“So we can do all these things and they are good and look I am getting closer to the prize. But you know what, then other things happen. Like maybe I hurt my brother or sister (go down one rung) or I didn’t listen when my parents asked me to do something(go down another rung). Give a few examples that put you back on the floor.
“So now, it’s pretty hard to get to the top.” 

Faith+Share“But you know, that is not grace. Grace really is a gift. So we don’t really have to go get the prize in order to have grace in our lives.” Climb the ladder, get the gift and bring it down to the center of the children.

“See God’s grace is not something we have to get on our own. It comes to us. God brings grace to us because it really is a free gift. And we have this gift with us and then we can go out and share it with others and live in service because we know how much we are loved by God.”

Open the box and take out the bread. “We know that Jesus told us to remember him through eating bread. And we eat bread at communion. And we can have a taste now (pass around bread). We know that Jesus is with us and we have this prize, this gift of grace that gives us the love and the will to go out and live our lives in grace.” 
Place the gift box on the altar as a reminder for everyone during communion.

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for the gift of grace and the gift Jesus. We are grateful that you are with us always. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Take a big piece of bread and go share with others. Or make sign of cross saying, “God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right.”


Children Sermon Pentecost 15A: Matthew 21:23-32

Faith+Open: Gather the children. If they have not heard the gospel story yet, recap it. If they have remind them of what was said along the lines that a father had two children and one said he would do something and didn’t and the other said he wouldn’t but did.

Faith+Share: Say, “Hhhhmmm… this sounds familiar to me! I think I hear this at home a lot from my own two kids. But you know, I can remember times that I have said I would do something for another person and then either forgot or got busy and didn’t do it. One time I told my son that I would help him out by sewing his cub scout badge onto his uniform shirt and then it was time for the meeting and guess what, I hadn’t done it yet. Or another time, I told a friend I would pray for her when I got him but then I just plain forgot. Has this ever happened to you? Where you said you would do something but then didn’t do it?” Take some answers.
“I am thinking that one of the things that Jesus wants us to know is that what we say AND what we do matter. It is another way for us to think about being in service to one another. Once my daughter told me she WAS NOT going to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer and I was pretty tired and didn’t want to fight with her so I sighed and walked away. But then I came upstairs and she had done what I had asked. That meant a lot to me. It was a way for her to help me out in a busy day.”

Now get quiet and whisper and make a deal out of this being a ‘secret surprise”
“Let’s think of some kind of act of service you can do at home for someone you live with. Any ideas?”
Get their ideas and then challenge them to go home and do a mystery act of service for someone in their family.

An extra idea would be to have little “mystery service” cards to hand out to them so they could leave the card wherever they had helped out.

Faith+Prayer: God, help us to remember to talk about you and be in service to others, showing them our love and your love. Amen

Faith+Blessing: God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right Amen.

Children Sermon Matthew 20:1-16 14A

Summary: The parable of the labors in the field could be summed up by saying “that’s not fair,” a familiar phrase in households with children. They will understand the idea of something not being fair so we emphasize living in God’s grace means that mercy trumps being fair in the kingdom of God. 

Preparation: a small something to give away (i.e., candy, small crosses, pencils)

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. Have the line up from oldest to youngest (or tallest to shortest if that is easier. You can also do a just a few kids if you have too many to do it with all of them) and spend some time examining them in this order making sure it’s right.

Faith+Share: “Let’s see here. We have the oldest/tallest here at this end of the line and the youngest/shortest here at this end of the line. I have here these (candy or small crosses or some small giveaway) to give out but who should go first?” If you don’t get kids vying to go first right away then prompt them a bit by asking should oldest go first? Or tallest? Or those who got up her first?, etc.

“Do you have line leaders at school? And what is the line leaders job? So they go first for the day? Hhmmm. Well if this is my line leader then it means the kid at the very end is very last right?” (You may want to have the kids sit at this point, but stay in their line)

“Well we heard/will hear this gospel story from Jesus that there were workers in a field and some worked from the beginning of the day and some didn’t work until the end of the day but they all got paid the same. Do you know what the workers who got their first said? Yep, they said, ‘That’s not Fair!’ we worked longer and harder and we should get more. But they were given what they were promised, it was just the same as what the workers who came later were promised. Have you ever had something be not fair? So we know what it feels like think that we didn’t get treated the same. BUT Jesus tells this story to teach us about GRACE. See the workers who were hired later still had families to bring home food to and the landowner did not want anyone to go hungry so they were all paid the same. Jesus says that God is like this. God gives us what we need and loves us all so much that we don’t get what we deserve, we get GRACE. Jesus said the last will be first and the first last! This might sound unfair to let the last go first but with God we are all included and we are all a part of God’s GRACE and we are all God’s Children.”
“We are going to say a prayer of thanks and then I will hand these out. Can you guess which way I will hand them out? The last shall be first!”

Faith+Prayer: God, you give us grace and love. Thank you for your love for us and for all people. Help us to remember that no matter whether we are first or last we are your children. Amen


Children’s Sermon Matthew 18:15-20 Pentecost 12A

Faith+Open: Gather children with you and a copy of the 10 commandments with you. Show them what you have and explain what it is.

Faith+ShareI am going to tell you a commandment and I want you to tell me if it’s about loving God or loving people. Read all or some of the commandments and have them respond with God or People. The commandments are there for us to know that loving God and loving people are the most important ways we live together. Now, we may know this is important but let me see… raise your hand if you ever have a disagreement with someone during the day. Think of all the people you see in a day and if you ever have times that you don’t get along…. I can tell you that I am remember that my brother and I argued probably a lot when we were kids. And we would often go and run and tell our mom–how many of you do that? We wanted her to pick one person to be right, but you know, she never really did–even when I KNEW that of course I was right! Instead she wanted us to work out. Do you ever hear those words to ‘work it out’?   Today our Gospel story Jesus tells us how to work things out with other people. It’s not always easy but first we need to tell the person why what they are doing is not okay with us. Then if that doesn’t work we can go get help to work it out. And you know what–we are asked to do this with love. Wow. That’s hard. I remember one time my brother and I had to hold hands while we were arguing, that sure made us want to figure it out quickly! Jesus asks us to work things out and to remember that the other person is a loved child of God just like we are–and Jesus promises to be with us even when we are angry or in a fight with someone else. You can take anytime in your life and Jesus promises to be there with you and with the other person. 

Faith+Prayer: God, we don’t always like everybody. We don’t always get along. Be with us when we argue and help us to remember to love. Thank you for your promise to be with us all of the time. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross together and say
God in my head
God in my heart
God on left
God on my right

Make the sign a second time together saying
God in my highs
God in my lows
God with me today
God with me wherever I go

***idea for using the 10 commandments is modified from Worshiping with Children

Extended resources: Worshiping with Children Year A Proper 18 has some excellent ideas and refers to two books that would work well to read for children’s sermon instead of using the 10 commandments.

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 13A: Matthew 18:21-35

Scripture: Matthew 18-21-35

Faith + Open: Welcome the children to children’s time. Begin by asking them how school is going and about their friends.

 Faith + Share(If you have an object that perhaps was damaged by a friend or sibling bring it in to show the children. You can use it to talk about how it reminds you that your relationship with your friend/sibling is more important than the object.) 

Say: “you know one time my friend/sibling broke something that was mine. I really liked this thing and I was so mad when I found out that they broke it! I didn’t want to talk to that person for a really long time. They said that they were sorry, but I didn’t believe them. I even told them back “I forgive you” but I didn’t really mean it. I wanted them to be sad like I was and I even thought about breaking something of theirs! Has that ever happened to you where you were that mad at someone who broke or took something that was yours? Well, even though I felt that way for a while, I began to be sad that I was having fun with my friend anymore. They knew that I was still mad so they did not play with me at school or after school. I wanted to be friends again so I had to really mean the words “I forgive you” and act like a friend again. This is so hard isn’t it?? But have you ever accidently broken a toy of a friend or sibling? Yeah, I have too, you feel really bad don’t you and the only thing you can say is “I’m sorry.” We feel really good when that friend forgives us and still wants to play with us though, right! Right!

God loves us very much and in our Bible story today Jesus says that we are to forgive people over and over to be a good friend and show God’s love to them. God forgives us over and over and over and over….and so we should love our friends and everyone we meet that much too!” (You may need or want to say at this point that if someone is hurting you that you, forgiving them doesn’t mean you have to hang out with them and let them hurt you again.)

When we forgive, we are praying that we want everyone to be the kind of friend who helps each other and not hurt each other. This is very hard and we have to ask God to help us every day! Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s prayer which talks about forgiveness for this reason! We will mess up, which is why we ask God and our friends to forgive us! God does not want us to be hurt or to hurt anyone so we have to talk to each other to get along! This is why learning the Lord’s Prayer can help us with this.

Faith + Prayer:  Lead the children in a short prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer:

Dear forgiving God, we thank you that you love and forgive us when we mess up. Please help us to be kind to one another too! Thank you for sending Jesus to show us how to love people. Jesus taught us to pray…Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Sermon Matthew 16:21-28 Pentecost 11A

Follow Me… (not me, Jesus)…

Faith+Open: Before the service enlist a couple of older children who will come up and follow you wherever you go. Think about how they could follow you as you go to the front, etc.
Gather the kids. Have the 2-3 children who are trailing you stick close and walk around a bit.

Introduce the story by saying something like, “Today we are going to hear readings about love and following. Jesus in Matthew tells his disciples to follow him and Paul in Romans is talking about how to love one another…”

Now, ‘notice’ the children following you. Ask, “What are you doing?” Prompt them to respond, “Following you”
“Oh is this kind of following we are to do when we follow Jesus? So you are just going to follow me whatever I do… So if I do this.. (jump, or skip or hop or do some silly things–end with sitting down and having the kids sit with you.”

Faith+Share: How many of you have followed someone or played follow the leader? How about when you are not playing a game, can you think of people that you follow or that follow you? (get answers about teachers, or parents, siblings, etc). When we follow other people we sometimes are trying to be like them. Which if they are teaching us good things about living in the world that is a great thing! What about following Jesus, how do we follow Jesus when we can’t walk right behind him and jump when he jumps?
(get answers)
We can read scripture and stories about Jesus to know how to follow and we can remember that Jesus asked us to follow him with love. We love the people around us and we love those we don’t even know. We love people by being kind, helping them, and praying for them. Is it always easy to do this? Is it easy to love or pray for people that aren’t nice to you or that are difficult? Do you know people at school or in your neighborhood that it might be hard to love? Jesus even wants us to love those people, we don’t have to play with them all the time or hang around them if they are mean but we do follow Jesus by praying for them and by showing that we care about people. This is not always easy but the good news is that Jesus is with us and loves us and all people first so we can follow Jesus.

Faith+Prayer: God, help us to love and care about people. Thank you for your words and your love that we can follow. Amen

1. There is children’s book called Miss Tizzy that is review on Children’s Literature blog. This could be read as the children’s sermon or used in children’s church or another time.
2. Have a simple service project, like filling backpacks with school supplies or baggies with health care items for a local shelter.

Children’s Sermon Matthew 16:13-20 Pentecost 10A

Faith+Open: Gather the children around you and ask them, who am I? Get their answers (if they can only come up with ‘pastor’ or ‘youth director’ or whatever your role may be help them along and name some things that you are (mother/father, son/daughter, fisherman, hiker, etc). How do you know who I am?

Faith+Share: You know who am by things you see me do or by what I tell you or teach you. Give an example–you would know that I like bike riding if you saw me out on my bike enjoying a ride. Or you might know that because I have told you a story about one of my bike rides. How do we know who Jesus is? Gather their answers–help them along if needed.

We know who Jesus is because of the stories we have in scripture, the prayers we say in worship and on our own. The disciples are with Jesus in our gospel today. (If you have time use the book mentioned in the extended activities). They know who he is because they have been following him for awhile now. But there are many people who aren’t sure who Jesus is and Jesus is asking what people are saying about him. Some think he is one of the prophets who lived before him who has come back. Peter says to Jesus that he knows who Jesus is, That he is the messiah, the Son of God. Peter knows this because of what he has seen and because of what Jesus has told him.
We might not live in the time Jesus did but we still know who he is–can you think of some words or names that you have heard to talk about Jesus?

Do you know what else we know because we know who Jesus is? We know who we are! You could say to that you know who I am because I am a child of God and I know who you are because you are a child of God. We all belong to God and we are marked with that blessing in our baptism and in our prayers and in our confessions and when we come to the table–we are a child of God all the time and everywhere. Each and everyone of you is a loved child of God–the most important part of who you are!

Faith+Prayer: God, you love your son Jesus who is our Messiah. Help us remember that we are your loved children so that we always know who we are and who we belong to. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Have children repeat this blessing with you using your hands to make the cross. May you always know you are loved child of God. Invite them to go give that blessing to someone they are sitting with in the congregation.

Extended Idea:  Read Jesus, This Is Your Life: Stories & Pictures by Kids edited by Jeff Kunkel summary found at Children’s Literature: A Resource for Ministry and have children draw their own story of Jesus’ life in their own life. 

Children’s Sermon Isaiah 56:-1-8 Pentecost 9A August 14, 2011

This week texts are full of images of inside and outside that may be difficult for children (and adults for that matter!) to pick up on. Spend some time focusing on how Christ came with an openness that extends past all the boundaries we put up knowingly and unknowingly. 

Faith+Open: Gather the children at the front with you. Ask them not to sit but to stand and make a circle. Stand in the middle of the circle. Ask the kids to put one foot in the circle and show how they are on the inside of the circle. Ask, who is on the outside of this circle? (answers like others in the congregation, etc)

Faith+Share: We will hear from a prophet today–Isaiah. Isaiah is a prophet who wanted the people of God to understand that how they lived with others mattered to God. Isaiah talks about some people who were difficult for the others to welcome in or get along with or understand. They were people that most others would not want to let into the inside of this circle. They wanted God to be just for them. Can you think of people who might be hard for you to get along with or people that would be hard to welcome? Yeah, that is a reality of life we don’t always let people in the inside of our lives or even the inside of groups that we belong to. Where do you think Jesus is in the circle? (get answers) I was once told by a wise person that whenever we make a circle around Jesus, trying to keep Jesus in one place with us–Jesus moves to the outside of the circle (move to the outside of the circle). Jesus wants everyone to know God’s love and does not stay inside one little place or with one group of people. Jesus’ love opens up the circle. (at this point pick a place at the top of the circle, have the two ends open up to make a line and ask them to hold their arms out).  Explain that now we have this open circle that will allow anyone in (even all those people out in the congregation, ha, ha).

Faith+Prayer: Let’s all Pray together: Jesus, help us to open our circles and open our hearts. Be with us today and with all those who need to hear your voice of love. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross together: God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right.

Extended ideas: I love this idea at Worshiping with Children. Click the link to see the explanation about having people collect prayers in baskets for those on the outside.