I'd like to introduce a new paradigm for that "Moment for Children" in the Worship Service called “Words of Wonder” which is all about bringing the entire congregation into a 'wonder' mode just prior to the Scripture reading and Sermon, and before children are dismissed to Children's Church/Sunday School (if they are).
"Words of Wonder" is my own formula for tying into the pastor's message and the Scripture. Children do NOT come down to the front of the Sanctuary to be put on display. Instead, everyone stays right where they are in the congregation. We are ALL God's children and now is a time to "wonder" about something that will help us focus on what we believe God might want to say to us through the sermon or the Scripture passage.
I often carry a large Mary Poppins’ type of "Wonder Bag" in which is placed a BIBLE, treats, and some surprise that helps me bring people to a place of WONDER. The "surprise" can be a puppet, various props, food, - whatever will help tie the wondering questions into the sermon topic/main point. These "Words of Wonder" are NEVER Object Lessons because Object lessons are not appropriate for children under age 11. Instead, I focus on what we need to wonder about. This sets the stage for awe and mystery for people of all ages. It also respects children as equal partner worshippers with the rest of the church family instead of putting them on display in front of the congregation as if there is a need for singling them out in that fashion.
I'd love to see what the rest of you are doing about “Children’s Sermons”, how effective you think they are. Let’s use this new forum for sharing ideas, sample dialogues, sermons, and activities. After all, Jesus called us all to be like little children before Him. And, in order to pass the torch of God’s truth from generation to generation (the GCSSA theme this year), we need to include our children in the greater community of faith.
Minister of Spiritual Formation
Westminster Presbyterian Church