Jordan B. Davis
Church Relations Officer
I don’t know about y’all, but the Children’s Sermon is usually my favorite part of worship. Not only can we count on the kids to say anything (one young boy recently told me about how his Mom forgot to make his lunch one day… right there, on the steps, in front of the whole congregation), but it is also a great time to bring sometimes complicated ideas to a very simple explanation; we may not cover the whole thing, but this brief time serves as a great introduction for everyone. When the Children’s Sermon looks at the same scripture as the “Big Sermon,” it might even make that a bit easier to understand.
Most worship services today have this time set aside for children, but what happens when there are no children or you don’t know week to week who will be there? All too often I see the minister (or whoever is to give the Children’s Sermon that day) look around and see that there are no children and proceed with the service. Knox Presbyterian in Norfolk, VA does just the opposite, remembering that we are all children- children of God.
“Church Family Time” fills the time slot that many churches reserve for a Children’s Sermon. During this time, members of the church take turns highlighting ministries and aspects of their faith that are important to them. On the day when I visited to guest preach, one of the members used this time to share what he thought was most important about Union Presbyterian Seminary and why he was excited that we were there.
There is something about remembering that we are all children and can benefit from that special, simple time in worship. How many times during the rest of the worship hour do you regularly find yourself laughing and truly enjoying the act of worship so deeply that you cannot help but smile? Even those of us who are Teaching Elders will tell you that worship can be very mundane at times and the sermons aren’t always top notch. Why should we let this special time go just because there are no kids in the pews?
When church members are given the opportunity to explore an aspect of their faith that is especially important to them, share a story or feature an outreach program with the others that have gathered, the worship services “belongs” to the whole congregation as opposed to how it might feel when the music director and pastor plan the whole service. When there is a greater sense of ownership, there is a greater desire to be present and engaged. When individuals have an opportunity to share what is on their mind when they think about their faith, the community grows stronger and we live into Christ’s teachings to support one another.
Yes, there is something special about watching fidgety children as they sit on the steps of the sanctuary and say any number of things. I think we can all say that we have learned a lot in those moments. However, there is no reason that we can’t have that moment of simplicity and joy just because there are no kids one day or every week.
Children are known for finding great joy in the most simple things and for being extra curious about new things. We may be “all grown up,” we may have our own kids and grandkids, but that doesn’t have to stop our own joy and curiosity.
Whether you have children in worship every week, or only at Christmas when they visit their grandparents, remember that we are all children of God. How can we help our parishioners find that joy and curiosity again? What would happen if we all got up out of the pew one Sunday and gathered on the floor at the front of the sanctuary for just a few minutes?
Knox Presbyterian Church is located in Norfolk, VA and is led by Rev. Ron Blade (M. Div. 1987), pastor. Check them out on Facebook!
Our cover image comes from http://go-newhope.com/connect/children/sunday-mornings-for-kids/