Friday, June 6, 2014

Tips on How to Lead a Children's Sermon

There are a few things I've found over the years that will help increase the impact of your children's sermon on both the kids and the adults who are watching.

1. When you call the children forward, have them sit on the platform or at the front of the sanctuary, facing the congregation. The adults love to see the kids interacting with you, so give them a good view of the children's faces, not the back of their heads. You sit to the side of the children so that you can turn your head both to them and to the congregation.

2. Sit at eye level with the children. This helps them connect with you more easily. Remember that you are talking with them, not at them from a higher level.

3. Always use an object. It can be a picture or an actual 3-D object. Let them handle the object if possible. The point is that you want something to connect what you're saying with a sense of reality. The object is real. It's in front of them. It helps anchor your words in their minds and hearts.

4. Use a little small talk. Ask how the kids are doing. Compliment them on their outfits, etc. before starting the actual children's sermon. Kids will engage with you more readily if they know you like and care about them. Use small talk to remind them that you're their friend.

5. Ask questions. Don't monologue. Bring the kids into the conversation. When they can respond to you, it engages them more deeply.

6. Involve the congregation. The adults will be more than happy to participate with you in the children's sermon if you give them instructions on how to do so. You might ask them to clap and cheer when a child answers your question, or, when students are stumped by a question you ask or are feeling shy, you can turn and the ask the congregation for help answering the question.

7. Affirm all answers. I once asked my students to name as many of the Ten Commandments as they could think of. They were doing well until one boy started reciting the Boy Scout creed. What could I do? What should you do in a situation like that? I allowed the boy to finish, said that those were good rules to live by, and then asked my question again. You want to clarify wrong answers by never saying that they're wrong. Never risk embarrassing a child or their parents. Affirm the answer or their level of participation and then continue teaching.

8. Speak at their level and repeat often. Pay attention to your wording. Are you saying things in a way that children will understand? If not, adjust. You want to say things in such a way that children will be able to take in and take with them. This means speaking at their level and repeating your main point a couple of times throughout your talk to make sure that children really hear it instead of it just flying by them.

9. Be excited. Be sincere. You are teaching children forever truths. Enjoy it!

I hope these tips are useful to you. If you have other tips or comments, please write them below and share them with us!

Find more children's ministry teaching tips on our Free Children Sunday School Lesson Helps page.

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