My beef with the Children’s Story
I don’t like children’s stories during worship.
It’s probably not because of the reasons you think. Sure, there are countless examples of misguided storytellers. Here are some:
*The unprepared one in a church on the West Coast: “Hello children, I haven’t read this story, they just asked me this morning, so sit and be quiet”.
*The Vegan Bible in a church in the south: “Jesus took the loaves and ___________ and He gave the loaves and _______________ to the people and they ate the loaves and _________________”. (she took out the word fishes every time, ‘cause you know, diet matters more than the bible)
*The weird one in a church in the Caribbean where every Sabbath they have children’s story but there are no kids in attendance, only 60 year olds.
Sometimes it takes too long, many times its absolutely irrelevant and the seldom portray grace, just a “do this kids, or you will lose your meal like little Johnny” sort of stories fill the Sabbath morning landscape.
The reason I don’t like it is not because of any of those reasons. The children’s story is a small bone we throw to kids that are bypassed in most of the worship services. We use adult themes with adult language geared for adult issues and then wonder why kids disconnect as soon as they are teens. If the children in your church are so important answer me this:
If you are pressed for time what part of the service is the first to go?
Here are some suggestions to creating a kid friendly worship service.
- Illustrations: use ones that kids can relate to. Most of the ones I hear aren’t.
- Visual: In a visual generation talking heads garner as much interest as a game between the Jets and Jaguars.
- Shorter: The gospel is eternal but the sermons don’t have to be. One hour sermons are unnecessary.
- Think of them: When you are constructing the message. Can a six-year-old get what you are saying?
- Ask them: Go to the children’s divisions and ask them what they are afraid of, what they wish for, what would they like to hear. Then build messages around that. If you are afraid of not engaging adults because you go too young, don’t. Most adults are ecstatic that their kids and grandkids are paying attention!
Here is to better worship services for kids! Any other ideas? Leave them in the comment section.