Emergency Children’s Sermons! (I’ve been there.)

ridiculouslysimplechildren's sermon

Looking for a children’s sermon that works for anytime of year uses materials you have in your office, (or can print out) can be prepared in less than five minutes, and still makes an impact? Yep, me too. All the time.  I feel strongly that children’s sermons (like adult sermons!) are at their best when they are very, very simple, don’t give away too many answers, and don’t try too hard. In that spirit here are four ridiculously simple children’s sermons your children will love and remember! (Looking forward to adding more volumes in the future…)

#1 – God’s Protection 

Materials: A picture of baby birds hiding under their mother’s wing. Try this one, this one, or one of these. 

Sermon: 

Before you show the picture to the children say “Today I’m going to talk about baby birds and mama birds. Have you ever seen a baby bird with it’s mother? What was it like?”

Then show the children the picture and ask questions.

  • What is this a picture of?
  • What is the mama bird doing? Why?
  • What is the baby bird doing? Why?

Say “I noticed that the baby bird looks safe and protected and cared for in this picture. It reminded me of a scripture in the Bible that goes like this: “You can go to God-Most-High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection. I say to the Lord, ‘You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you.’ God will save you from hidden dangers and from deadly diseases. You can go to God for protection. God will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies.  You can trust God to surround and protect you like a shield.” – (Psalm 91: 1-5a Easy to Read Version)

Prayer: God we thank you for all of the mother birds that take care of their babies by feeding them and protecting them and giving them shelter and rest. Thank you that you are a good God that loves us and protects us. Amen.

#2 Why does the pastor wear that? 

Materials: Some of the pastor’s stoles

Sermon: This sermon varies depending on which stoles you bring, but start out by saying “Today I thought we could talk about these stoles that I wear. Each of these stoles has a different meaning and a different story.” Show the children each of the stoles and tell the story of them: what color they are, what the color means, where you got the stole and who gave it to you. Let a few children try on the stoles.

#3 The Stars in the Sky 

Materials: A star cut out of paper. (Here’s an outline) and the children’s poem “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” 

Sermon: Hold up the paper star and ask “What’s this?” Ask the children if they know any songs about a star. Someone will absolutely come up with twinkle twinkle little star. Sing it together. Then say… “I’d like to read to you the rest of the verses of that poem.” Read the poem. Close by saying “Every time I see a star in the sky, I think of God and how God created the heavens and the earth and all of the stars in the sky, and I hope you do, too!”

Prayer: God thank you for creating everything in the world including the stars in the sky. Help us to remember you each and every time we see the stars up in the sky, twinkling and shining and showing us the way. Amen.

#4 Remember God’s Love 

Materials: A washable or Crayola marker (not a permanent marker or sharpie) and 1 John 4:4-11 ERV

Sermon: Say “Every Sunday we talk about God’s love, but today I wanted to read a special passage about it and leave you with a special reminder that God loves you. Listen carefully to the story.” Read the scripture. After the scripture is read say “Wow! God loves us so much and gave us such a precious gift in Jesus. Today I brought a marker with me and for everyone that wants one, I’m going to draw a little heart on your hand. Every time you see it today you can remember how much God loves you!” As you go around drawing hearts on the children’s hands say “Remember God loves you today, tomorrow and every day!” or “Remember God’s love, Amen!” or “God loves you.”

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3 comments

  1. Lovely Traci! Bonus points in #1 for maternal imagery for God. Bonus points in #5 for Ash Wednesday modeling. Question, though, about #1. What do you think about the promises of protection?

    1. Thanks for the bonus points, Craig! As for the promises of protection… not sure I’m exactly sure what you’re getting at. Do you mean, what do I think about promising kids that God will protect them given the reality that they will often find themselves hurt and unprotected and wounded and beat up in life? My philosophy is always that honesty is the best policy with children and that we should always be clear when something is a mystery or unknowable to us. So… for example, the psalm does say that God will shield and protect us, yet we know that doesn’t always ring true to experience. It’s a mystery. I don’t know if I would get in to all of that in a children’s moment though. I think I would (and have) just talked about the fact that God is a God who loves all of creation and desires to keep us safe and protected, like a mama bird. What saith you? 🙂

      1. Sorry so slow… I thought I’d get an email from WordPress when you replied…came to look after seeing your Ticketed Guests post (agreed, btw!).

        Yes, you get my question well when you write “find themselves hurt and unprotected and wounded and beat up in life”. And I concur with you that the deeper analysis is beyond the scope of children’s time during the service and that the identity-defining reality to be affirmed is the love of God.

        My question mainly stems from something similar to a concern you note in the Ticketed Guests post. A deeper interpretation of this scripture is very likely beyond the cognitive and spiritual development of the children participating in the children’s time of the worship service. Yet the risk is there for misapplication of this passage along a literal path… leaving with the idea that one has a sort of divine kevlar.

        For me, there are two promising directions to look. 1) We are dealing here with a person’s affirmation of security in God. I think we have to first hear this Psalm as a personal testimony. 2) In light of real suffering, how do we/are we understand this meaning of “protection” and its affirmation in this Psalm?

        Too much for little minds and little time. I think in a children’s sermon I would emphasize in my word choice, etc. (and go for the corresponding lasting impression) the language in this Psalm “you can go to,” “you can trust him,” “nothing to fear,” “no need to be afraid.”

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