This would be a great Sunday to have children/youth of all ages in leadership during worship, education classes and any other opportunity. If not actual leadership (perhaps for safety reasons) then have the children/youth as partners with adults for leadership. Including the pastor! Here is a suggestion for a children’s sermon that can be led by the children fairly easily.
Gather the children in the middle of the sanctuary in the main aisle if you have one or some sort of central location. Ask the children if they have ever taught any one something new. (Accept all answers.) Ask if they have ever taught an adult something new. (Accept all answers.) Tell them that today-they will be the teachers and leaders and this children’s sermon is really for the adults. Have the children say to the congregation, “You are sent by God! Do not be afraid! God will tell you what to say!” Have the congregation say those phrases back to the children/youth. Ask a random adult of a couple of different ages (18-35, 35-50, 50-65, 65+) what they would like to say to the children today. Then ask a teenager and younger child what they want to tell the adults about God today.
We need each other! We need all of us together to proclaim God’s word of love, hope and grace. God works through us all and even those whom we don’t know or are different from us.
Have a child or two (or another adult and child) do the closing prayer. Let them make it up on the spot!
God gifts us all to proclaim God’s good news to all people in the world. God’s promises grow in us all, too. Have small terra cotta pots, soil and some flower seeds on a table. Place the table on tile or linoleum or have a tarp under the table. Invite the congregation to write or draw images or words of God’s promises on the pots. Then they can add soil and seeds. The actual potting could also be done after worship in another location. In this time of winter, watching new growth can be a reminder that God is always doing a new thing, even when it seems that the world is frozen and stagnate.
+God formed you and knows you+
Gather as a household. Share with one another where you saw or heard God today. Were those situations joyous or difficult?
Read John 12: 20-33.
For children: Have you ever seen a plant grow? Did you know that the seed that plants come from are technically dead? Seeds come from live plants and they are part of the plant that dies. Just left in the package all by themselves, nothing happens to them. But when they are given soil, water and sunlight what happens to them? They grow! But part of the plant had to die first. Jesus tells us that in order for us to grow sometimes we have to let another part of ourselves go. We might have to not always be first, or keep a toy to ourselves or help when we don’t feel like it. That’s what Jesus means by “losing your life” he means to think about other people first and you will change like the seed changes into a plant!
For youth/adults: When have you heard the voice of God in your life? Did you know that it was God right away or did you only recognize it afterwards? We might be a little squeamish about admitting that we have heard God’s voice as we can sound a bit unstable to the rest of the world, but God does still speak to us. Jesus even said that God spoke to the crowds not for Jesus’ sake but for them. God never leaves us alone and is always with us. Listen for God in your life today.
Another part of our Bible passage has to do with Jesus drawing all people to himself. We tend to think of Jesus dying on the cross about each of us individually, but what does it mean for us all to be caught up in Jesus arms? How does that change how you view your neighbor or coworker if they too are drawn to Jesus by Jesus? How do we treat each other differently if that were the case?
Find a bulb/seed and begin to grow a spring plant. When the plant is about ready to bloom, give it away to someone who could use the message of new life. Decorate the pot with symbols of spring and Easter. Write a card that prays for them to know the new life that God offers us all.
God of life, your voice still speaks to us, open our ears to hear you and our eyes to see your work in the world. May the new life that grows in us be shared with your world. May our whole lives serve you and your creation. In the name of your son who draws us all to him, Jesus, amen.
+Your life glorifies God+
Change 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