I’m a firm believer in the value of having a children’s message or children’s sermon during worship. These are some quick tips I wrote up for some confirmation students who are going to try giving a children’s message as part of their worship leadership involvement at St. Peter.
10 Pieces of Advice for Giving a Children’s Message
1. Keep it simple! One idea is best. What one thing do you want the kids to learn in your two or three minute message?
2. Talk to the kids, not the congregation. All the adults are there too listening in (and that’s great!) but this part of the service is focused on the kids.
3. Talk at a kid-friendly level. Since you’re talking to the kids, use words they can understand.
4. Don’t use the kids as props. The kids are people. They’re part of the congregation. Coming up for a children’s message can be scary. Don’t make it something embarrassing. Don’t make the kids the butt of a joke.
5. If you ask a question, expect an answer. Do you think kids understand rhetorical questions? No, if you ask them a question, they’ll probably answer. They don’t get sarcasm yet either.
6. Be flexible. Kids will say funny things. If a kid wants to tell you about what he did yesterday, he’s going to tell you, even if you’re talking about something completely different! Be prepared to just move on with what you want to say.
7. Teach kids about God, not about behavior. Remember, God loves you no matter what you do, not because you behave well.
8. The point is to teach the kids about God and to help them understand God’s love for them. Sometimes the Bible readings in church are written for adults and kids have trouble understanding what they’re talking about. The children’s message is a chance to translate to their level.
9. Use a microphone. The children’s message is a part of worship specifically for the kids, but all the rest of the people should get to listen in too.
10. Pray. I like to end each children’s message with a simple “repeat after me” prayer. Say one short phrase at a time, and again, keep it pretty short.