Children sermons – I hate them. Hate may seem too harsh of a word to use, after all, I do like sermons and I do like children . . . but put them together and I loathe them. I have always dreaded doing them ever since I was in seminary and had to do them during my pastoral internship. Now after almost 9 years at my church, I can’t do it anymore. The challenge is what do you do to replace them. Does one simply eliminate them or does one try and replace it with another child-friendly activity? I honestly believe that the adults get more out of children’s sermons than the kids. Either they provide adults with a simplified and easier to understand version of your sermon or it is cute entertainment at the children’s expense. Growing up, I have seen it all . . . props, puppet shows, you name it.
I mean no disrespect to the many who love children’s sermons or find creative ways to use that time. I am merely speaking my own frustration with them. Adam Copeland posted the do’s and don’t’s of children’s sermons a few years ago that resonates for me. But by next year, my plan is to wean the congregation away from them completely. My church is already family-friendly, but I actually want to take it one step further. I’ve been working closely with the music director to develop intergenerational worship services that will not focus on being child-friendly, but more inviting to both the extroverted and introverted, tactile and cerebral, traditional and contemporary. Seems impossible, but we are up for the challenge. This, of course, means a drastic restructure in how we do music, Sunday School, seating arrangements, and order of worship.
I’ll keep you posted on where we land, but I foresee this being an experiment in progress. And of course, like any pastor/mother, I will probably use my kids as guinea pigs to see how they feel about the changes. Knowing my son, he won’t notice. Knowing my baby girl, it won’t meet her expectations. Here’s to trying.