Children's Time

         Coming up with quality worship material for children is an important (and difficult) task in ministry. Children are not little adults, and should not be approached as such. I agree with the school of thought which says that the whole service of worship needs to provide entryways for children, not just the "children's sermon." Saying it and doing it, though, are very different animals. There is something to be said for little ones observing adults in action, without having to tailor matters to suit them. Unfortunately, in a media bloated environment, we don't have the luxury of assuming that some day, when they're older, our children will tune in to adult worship. By then, they may well have tuned out.
         I approach this task as one who grew up in a congregation that paid little attention to children in worship - at least as far as I can remember (and that is the key - they may have made the attempt, but it did not connect). I do not recall a single thing the pastor ever said or did. I do, however, remember some of the activities with which I occupied the time - from imagining tunneling a complex of missile systems from my pew to the steeple (an interesting recollection for a "peace church" pastor), to drawing an entire city of streets around the letters in the bulletin. I guess worship provided some creative moments. I also vividly remember being excluded once a month from bread and cup communion.
         "Let the children come to me," Jesus said. How we do this requires creativity on our part, and a multitude of answers - not a one-size-fits-all approach. One way I try to connect with them is through dramatic, away from the pulpit, first-person accounts. See this sermon, for instance, and imagine 15-20 children in their choir sitting in the front pews, which was the practice on Sundays when they sang. I did have their attention!
         I don't provide a special "children's time" every Sunday, though it's often three out of four Sundays a month. Other members of our congregation have a gift for children's stories and share with our younger ones in worship once or twice a month. The Bible character portrayals (above) have been quite effective throughout the year in capturing their (and their parent's and other adult's) imaginations. I also have incorporated some dramas. One of the most important elements of the Children's Time in worship, when they do happen, is the set-apart nature of those moments. It's is their time, even as it is God's time. I try not to underhandedly talk to the adults through the children (though how often has it been said that adults get more out of children's sermons sometimes than adult sermons?).
         Below is a growing index of Children's Times in Worship in the context of the services themselves. I do not include dramas or sermon portrayals of Bible characters here. Such will need to be discovered through my main sermon page. When I consciously borrow, I seek to note the source. Sometimes I borrow but adapt a great deal, such that the original idea was but a seed.  You are free to borrow any of the ideas that might be original to me. We know, don't we, that "originality" has a truer source - "inspired" ideas are sparked by the creative God we worship. How do you credit this in a Bibliography? Check these resources out. Many are fabulous!

Symbols used below:

©  =  Borrowed from a children's story resource (see Bibliography)                      
 
¥  =  a brief description (buy the © book!)                                                                        
 €  =  Adapted from a children's story resource
(see Bibliography, buy the book)
no symbol
= original with me (as far as I know), feel free to use                                             
§ = original with Ed Lewis, children's storyteller in our congregation           

Scripture Index

Genesis 1

"Can you hear me now?"
"Sabbath Candle-lighting"

Genesis 1:26-27 "In God’s Image" ©

Genesis 15:1-6

 "Looking up"

Genesis 28:10-19a

"With a stone as my pillow"

Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15

"Bread from Heaven"

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

"Oscar’s grandson"
"I m possible!"

Exodus 20:1-7

"Climbing and Listening"

Exodus 34:29-35

"God and a hot plate"

1 Samuel 3:1-20

"A Difficult Message"

2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-14

"Naaman’s story"

Nehemiah 8:1-10

"Joy strong"

Job 38:1-11

"On top of the world?"

Psalm 16

"I like to be with you" ©

Psalm 19:14

"Children have power" ©

Psalm 23:1-3

"Jesus helps you be you" ©

Psalm 23

"Not alone in the dark" (mp3) (Ed Lewis)

Psalm 46:10

"Giant Redwoods"
"How do you expect an answer
when you don't even listen?"

Psalm 51

"Coming Clean" © ¥

Psalm 63:1

"Thirsting"

Psalm 63:6

"when I think of you on my bed"

Psalm 80:1-7 "Let your face shine"

Psalm 84:10

"Doorkeepers in the House of God"

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

"From here to there and back again"

Psalm 90:14

"Surprise us with Love"

Psalm 93:1-2

"A King forever" ©

Psalm 105:37-45

"Remembering"
"God’s Photo Album"

Psalm 111:9

"Holy and Awesome"

Psalm 139:17-18

"God's Thoughts"

Isaiah 40:31

"A great strength" ©

Isaiah 53:4

"The Yardstick" ©

Isaiah 55:1-5

"Raymond’s Candy Shop"

Isaiah 61:1-3

"Binding up the brokenhearted"

Isaiah 61:1-4

"Anointed to proclaim"

Isaiah 11:1-10

"The Lion and the Mouse" ©

Isaiah 40:31

"A great strength"

Isaiah 55:6-7

"Lessons from a turntable"

Jeremiah 1:4-8

"Do not say, ‘I am only a ...’"
"Perfect For The Job"

Jeremiah 15:16

"Sweet Words" © ¥

Jeremiah 33:3

"Prayer - anytime, anywhere" ©

Jeremiah 33:14-16 (from The Message)

"Fresh from the David-Tree"

Ezekiel 34:11-16

For bleating hearts

Jonah 1:1ff

"Hiding from God" © ¥

Jonah 3:10-4:11

"Jonah and the worm"

Haggai 1:15-2:9

"Build again"

Matthew 2:1-12

"The Big Storm"

Matthew 4:1-11

Involving Children in Scripture Reading

Matthew 6:24-34

"A Penny" ©

Matthew 9:9

"Follow the Leader" ©

Matthew 13:24-30

"The Inside Counts" ©

Matthew 14:22-33

"Being afraid"

Matthew 17:1-9

"Fiona"
"Wandering Up and Down"

Matthew 25:1-13

"Fred's Winter Coat"

Matthew 25:14-30

"Tick, tick, tick"

Matthew 28:16-20

"Getting a Clear Picture" ©

Mark 1:4-11

"Water, Dove, Voice"
"Turn Around"

Mark 1:9-11

"Through the waters"

Mark 9:2-9

"The Real Jesus" © ¥

Mark 10:46-52

"Wishbone" © ¥

Mark 12:38-44

Seeing & Doing Scripture
"Clang, clang, clang"
"Generosity" ©

Mark 12:41-44

"Giving all" §

Mark 16:1-8

"Terror and Amazement"

Luke 3:1-6

"Drawing attention to God"

Luke 4:1-13

"Road Blocks"

Luke 4:18-19

"Reading from the scroll"

Luke 5:1-11

"A fishing story (or two)"

Luke 7:11-17 "Children of Compassion"

Luke 9:28-36

"Transfigured"

Luke 9:51-58

"Learning to love" ©

Luke 10:38-42 A Gospel Story comes to life
Luke 15:1-10 Scripture in action
Luke 16:1-8 Acting it out

Luke 17:11-19

"The one who returned"

Luke 18:9-14

"All Puffed Up" ¥

Luke 19:41-44

"At the playground fence"

John 1:6-8

"Bending Light"

John 3:4-17

"I once was blind"

John 5:1-9

"As natural as swallowing" ©

John 9:1-41

"Eew!  Gross!"

John 13:31-35 "Remembering throughout the week"

John 20:27-29

"How many marbles?"

Acts 2:1-13

"Ruach" ©

Acts 2:36-39

"I Promise" §

Acts 9:36-43 "Raising a shepherd"

Acts 16:9-15

"I shall wear purple"
"The Color Purple"

Romans 8:22-27

"Inter-seeding"

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

"God’s Tool Box" ¥

1 Corinthians 15:22

"The Easter Balloon" ©

2 Corinthians 8:12 (CEV)

"A one eyed owl, the most perfect gift" §

Galatians 4:1-7

"Da-da"

Ephesians 1:15-23

"Smelly saints"

Philippians 3:2-14  "Picking up the Trash"

Philippians 3:17 - 4:1

"God of my Belly" (not used, was pre-empted)

Philippians 4:4-6

"Rejoice Always" © ¥

Colossians 1:3-6

"Bearing fruit"

Colossians 1:3-12

"Live well for the Master"

2 Timothy 1:1-5

"Blooming in you"

2 Timothy 3: 16

"Reading the Instructions" ©

2 Timothy 4:2b

"Sticking with it"

Hebrews 13:8

"Some things change, some things don’t"

James 5:14-16

"Oil for Anointing"

Hebrews 13:1-2

"Angels among us" (mp3) (Ed Lewis)

1 Peter 1:3-9

"A Time to Rejoice" ¥

1 Peter 2:4-8

"The Cornerstone"

2 Peter 3:8-9

"How many X’s?"

1 John 1:9

"Like a Rock© ¥

Revelation 1:4-8 "Words from God"

Revelation 21:1-5

"Coming home"

Thematic Index

Acolyte (being one)

To Follow

Advent

"From here to there and back again"
"Bending Light"

Advent Living Tree series

"Fresh from the David-Tree"
"Drawing attention to God"
"Chrismons"
"Let your face shine"

Anointing

"Oil for Anointing"

Atonement

"The Yardstick" ©

Baptism

"Through the waters"

Camp Sunday

20022001
(lots of kid involvement)

Christ the King

"A King forever" ©

Christmas

"Christmas Love"
"A Moravian Star"

Confession

"Coming Clean" © ¥
"Like a Rock© ¥

Crop Walk

A Challenge for Children

Easter

"Butterflies" (mp3)
"The Easter Balloon" ©
"Terror and Amazement"

Fathers' Day

"Blessed is the Man..."
"Da-da"

Fear

"Being afraid"

God knows our hurt

"Comforted by 2 words" §

God/Jesus as Good Shepherd

What’s a shepherd?"

Grace, Amazing 
the story of John Newton

"I once was blind"

Heifer International

"Beatrice’s Goat"
"Banking on an Ark"

Homecoming celebration

"Coming home"

Mothers' Day

"O pin your heart"
"Blooming in you"

Pentecost

"Ruach" ©

Palms (Palm Sunday)

Children’s Time

Peacemaking

"At the playground fence"

"Playing catch with God"

     

Prayer

"Prayer - anytime, anywhere" ©

Prayer Chain Dedication

"Binding up the brokenhearted"

Repentance

"Turn Around"

Sabbath

"Sabbath Candle-lighting"

Sept. 11, 2001 follow-up

A Hug 
One boy's drawing

Service dog in church

"Preparing for Tiffany"

Sin

"Lessons from a turntable"

Stewardship of Time

"Tick, tick, tick"

Sunday School Dedication

With our Children

Thanksgiving

"Writing it Down"

Transfiguration

"God and a hot plate"
"Transfigured"
"The Real Jesus" © ¥

Trinity

"Getting a Clear Picture"
"3 in 1"

Valetine's Day

"Magic Glasses" (by Ed Lewis, an mp3)

Giving Warm Fuzzies

"A Warm Fuzzy Tale" (by Claude M. Steiner)

Welcoming newcomers

"A boy named Nicky"

Worship as a Drama

"Setting the Stage"

 

"God's gift wrapping" §

 

"Why do we come to church?" §

  

Other Children's Story web sites:

Sermons 4 Kids Talks to Children plus many more

  

my Bibliography of Children's Time Resources


Peter L. Haynes

return to - Sermon page
              - Worship page
              - Long Green Valley Church page