Giving talks or sermons to children or youth is not easy and it's not unusual to be stuck for ideas, so to help you we have started to compile here a list of ideas and talks that have worked for others in the past. Feel free to see what's here at the moment or even add some of your own. All we ask is that it's a sermon you've tried and found successful. Send details of it to us at: email@example.com
Source: Youthworkers eGroup, Yahoo Groups (defunct)
Exegetical Aim: To explain that God is patient with us when we don't live as we should.
Props: Crayons, a blank sheet of paper, and a little bit of artistic talent (but not much). On your sheet of paper draw a jumbled picture of a house, tree, and landscape, but make all the colours appropriate to the object. Draw the horizon. Put the roof's flat side on the horizon. Then on the tip of the roof, place the frame of the house upside down so that the door is up and the windows are down. You've got the picture now. Place the trees and birds in awkward places and draw the sun square. Draw a stick person walking on the sun. That should do it!
Place the drawing face down.
"This morning, I want to show you a picture I drew. I'm really proud of it. I worked really hard. It's a picture of my house on a sunshiny day. I mean it's got sunshine, a pretty house, trees, and birds in it. You want to see it?" (response)
Show the children the drawing.
Isn't this great! (response)
Do you like it? (response)
No, no, no, there's nothing wrong here. Here's my roof on the ground. (response)
Doesn't the roof belong on the ground? (response)
It doesn't? Where does it belong? (response)
Okay, I'll remember that. The roof belongs on the top of the house. I'll do better next time. Well, what about the sun? It's just shining! (response)
While they are shouting out it's square or it's supposed to be round, continue with your thoughts. I don't understand. (response)
Interrupt them. No, look, it's shining nice and bright and making the grass grow. (response)
What's wrong? (response)
You mean, it's not supposed to be square? (response)
It's supposed to be round? (response)
Okay, I'll remember that. The sun is supposed to be round. I'll do better next time. Well, this one is neat. This is me up here walking on the sun. (response)
You mean this is wrong too? (response)
I got it all wrong, didn't I? (response)
Okay, I need to remember this.
Point to the objects as you remember your corrections.
The house goes under the roof and the roof on top of the house. And I'm not supposed to be walking on the sun. That's all wrong. I need to be down here on the grass. And the next time I draw the sun, I need to make it round not square. I'll do better next time.
Sometimes we do get things all mixed up in life. Do you ever
fight with your friends? (response)
Have you ever been stingy and refused to share with your brother or sister? (response)
Did you know that from time to time your mom and dad get things all mixed up and they get mad at each other? (response)
When we fight and say bad things, our lives are all mixed up hold up the drawing like my picture. We need to do better.
I want you to know that God loves us all and is patient with us. And when we fight and act ugly, he is waiting for you and me to straighten up our lives. Now I will remember to put the roof and the sun and the little stick person in the right places next time. And I want you to remember not to fight with one another, not to be ugly, and to do as God asks: to love one another.
Let's Pray: Father, we make mistakes so we ask for your forgiveness, but help us all to do better next time. Amen.
Sent in by Geoff and Lynda Siave
"Childrens talk at church Apia Protestant Church, Samoa. I used this early in 2003 and I still feel joy at the "uncanny" way it fitted into the sermon that day. I'd had the task of delivering the talk at the short notice. But the following talk "came to me" - yes, we know where from:"
Started by asking about special types of words -
"what's an adjective?"
"what's a noun?"
"what's a verb?"
Think of some examples of each, briefly. Perhaps even act out a couple of verbs.
"turn" (to face congregation)
Link that all verbs are actions. "Doing" words.
Love is a verb (is also a noun depending how used, but this lesson is focusing on the verbal use).
We must show love in what we "do". It's no use saying we love our parents or family with out showing it. What's more, Jesus said "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you."
Congregation can all sing the song
Finish by emphasising the verse, and that love is a verb.
Sent in by Beryl Fussey
This can be used as a basis for a childrens' talk.
PRACTICE this FIRST!
You will need an empty jam jar, one LARGE marble and lots of smaller ones.
Who goes swimming? or dancing? or plays in a sports team? or drama? or belongs to a band? or likes watching cartoons? (you name it...) When all these things happen is is sometimes difficult to fit God in to our lives at all. We want to but there just isn't time to do everything. It's rather like these marbles in the jar.
(Drop all the marbles in the jar until it is nearly full, and try and put the lid on. )
All these things we do are the marbles. Now let's try and put God in
(put the large marble on top)
.....Oh dear, there just isn't room for God as well.
I know, lets see what happens if we put God in first.
(Tip all the marbles out on to a tray so you can be seen not to lose any and put the large marble in first. Then put in the smaller ones and fill the jar completely).
Wonderful! If you put God first in your life, then everything else will fall into place.
Preparation: Take a large piece of white paper, and write across it in LEMON JUICE the word "Jesus" - i.e. in "invisible ink.". let dry. Candle and match to light also required for talk.
State that many people ask questions like "Why does a good God allow
Give a few examples of suffering. Say that there is no simple answer to this, but that you are going to show the class one reason why God may allow problems and hardships to come into our lives.
God is interested in what we do, but He is more interested in what we are i.e. our character.
God can use our problems to develop our character. Use your own words for your particular class, but you could go along the lines suggested below.
"God has a wonderful plan to change you into someone far better. If none of us ever had any troubles, not many of us would give God a second thought, and we would never change. God sometimes allows suffering in our lives and uses it - as He helps us to overcome our problems - to change us. The Bible says "Suffering helps us to endure. And endurance builds character" Romans 5.3,4.
Hold up the 'blank' paper at this point
I am going to have an imaginary conversation with this paper.
Self: "Nice to see you paper, but I am now going to put you over a flame"
Light the candle. Explain that the flame stands for troubles or problems.
Paper : " I don't like the sound of that. I might get too hot. I might even get burnt". "I do like you paper, but I have a wonderful plan to change you into something better, and I have to place you over the flame to make this happen."
Begin to move the paper over the flame, following the word "Jesus" which you should just be able to see. Brown writing will start to appear. Continue your dialogue while still moving the paper.
Self: "How are you feeling now paper?"
Paper - "Stop it. I am getting far too hot."
Self: "I haven't finished my plan for you yet. I must complete the job I know this is tough for you, but I won't let you burn."
Complete the heating of the paper. As you hold the paper to show the class the word "Jesus" conclude your teaching.
"This is what God's plan is for you. To build your character, and make you to be like Jesus. Often He uses our problems and difficulties to bring this about. "
Preparation: We got one of the leaders to pose as a real bad person with lots of problems & issues carrying baggage from the outside world - This guy who acted as a bit of a bum, walked into the room drunk, swearing, cursing, full of hate, smoking - all the things he shouldn't do, real angry. He yelled out, I hate my life, there is no love, i am never happy, i have no friends, he then sat down and started to sob about his life...
When another leader approached him as one of the " Godly Doctors " and spoke to him about God. He told him how God was the biggest Doctor of all kinds, that he could heal the blind and bring back the dead to life. The man looked up and said but how ??? The doctor of God (Could also be an angel) reached out his hand and said, all you have to do is call on him, reach out and he will help you, so he reached out and the God doctor helped him up, and guided him to the operating room.
We stuck him on an operating table and pretended to operate. We cut him open and took out a black heart and replaced it with a " Heart of God " then proceeded to extract (Signs which we cut out and had been singed with a lighter to look really burnt and rotten) of hurt, abuse, negligence, lack of love, hate, anger, selfishness and all sorts of signs that you can pull out of his heart.
Then we put back in all the fruits of the spirit one by one. We then washed his brain and took out (Slime) and replaced it with a dose of " The word " - knowledge, wisdom & poured this into his brain. Followed by a hack sawing of his back pack which was his " Past luggage " which he carried. After the operation he became a renewed man - a man of God . The man jumped up off the table, smiling and happy !!! (And you can add your own bit in here if you like). And he was singing a song and jumping in the air clicking his heals!!
Source: Youthworkers eGroup, Yahoo Groups (defunct)
(Go with the currency over your neck of the woods :) )
Props: Dollar sets taken out and dropped on a loud metal tray in the
and a dollar bill. Try to place each set in a different pocket.
Lesson: I have a dollar in my pocket and it has been rather difficult carrying it around.
Take the pennies out of your pocket and drop them slowly on the tray. Create as much sustained noise as possible. Try speaking over the noise.
They make a lot of noise and they are difficult to keep up with. Some of them actually get lost from time to time. They are a real burden to carry, too, because they are heavy.
Remove the pennies from the tray.
So I thought I would try to bring the dollar together, so I started carrying around these.
Take the nickels from your other pocket and drop them slowly on the tray.
The dollar has been a little easier to keep up with. Some of them still get lost, and they continue to make quite a bit of noise. They're still a bit of burden though.
Remove the nickels from the tray.
I thought it would be easier if the dollar could be carried around like this.
Start dropping the dimes. Drop a dime at a time.
They don't make as much noise, and I can keep up with them but occasionally I lose one. They aren't nearly as heavy though.
Remove the dimes from the tray.
Finally it occurred to me that this would be the best way to keep my dollar together.
Drop the quarters one at a time.
There's only four of them, and I rarely lose any. And even though these make
a big noise, it doesn't last very long. So, do you think this is the best way to
carry around a dollar? (response)
Why not? (you need a dollar bill)
But these four quarters are a dollar. (a paper dollar)
I want you to listen to a prayer that Jesus prayed. He said, "I pray for all those who believe in me that they may be one." What did Jesus mean by that? (response) You're right. There are so many Christians in the world, and some of them live in America, some live in Africa, and some live in Russia. There are Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians. There are so many they are hard to keep up with and they actually get lost from time to time. There are also a lot of Christians in this church of ours. Sometimes they can be difficult to deal with because they make a lot of noise and sometimes they're even a real burden. Remove the quarters from the tray. You said I needed a dollar bill. Did you mean like this? Drop the dollar bill on the tray. You're right. That is a lot easier.
Let's Pray: I pray that these children will be one; that they will bring the church together; and that they will be a witness to this world. Amen.
Sent in by: Anna Scott, Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church, NC
Props: a salt shaker, an empty bowl, and carpet
Lesson: Tell the children that you have a project for them. Shake a lot of salt into the carpet and then tell the kids that their job is to get all the salt out of the carpet and into the empty bowl. While they work encourage them with kind words like, "you can do it!" and "you're almost done!!" they will get excited and try to speed up. Eventually they will stop and say that they can't get all of the salt out, Ask "Why not?"- the response will probably be something like "because it's in the carpet". When this happens talk about how our words, especially the mean ones are like the salt. When we say something its like we are pouring salt into the carpet. and the meaner words (heavier salt) sink farther into the carpet. say something like "It's really easy to get the kind words back like the salt that was on top of the carpet but the mean words you can't get back because they hurt people and sink farther in than the kind ones. So we have to be careful what we say because we can't always take back our words."
Prayer: "God help us to remember to always use kind words because we can't always take back what we say, Amen"
Sent in by: Anna Scott, Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church, NC
Props: several pictures of important people in the church, that the kids know
really well (a picture of the minister is a must!), when they were children
Lesson: Start by asking the kids if they have ever had their picture taken. (wait for response- obviously they will say yes)
Tell them that you have some pictures to show them of people that they know and their job is to guess who is who.
hold up picture- "So, Who is this?" (Wait for response) then if they guess wrong say no its...so and so... if they say guess correctly then congratulate them and move on
Repeat until all the pictures have been shown.
Talk about how the pictures show us what these important people looked like when they were young, continue by talking about how the people in those pictures do important things for the church, list examples, and how they were little once just like you, but the reason they are important to the church is because they are involved in the church and they do things for others. You can say something like "you kids do something important too, even though your little right now. With out you there would be no sunday school teachers and the members of the church would probably smile less because seeing each and everyone of you puts a smile on their faces. So even though you are young and you dont' have the experience that the people in these pictures do, doesn't mean you aren't important. The thing to remember is that the people that help make the church run so smoothly were young once too and the reason they are so good at what they do is because the grew up in the church and they stayed active in the church by going to sunday school and church sponsored activities. So while your job keeping our teachers employed and the smiles on the church members faces is really important as you grow up and get bigger you will be able to have more responsibilities like the people in the pictures i showed you, you might even be in the ministers position one day."
Prayer- "Lord help us to remember that even though we are young we are important and the bigger we get we will gain more responsibilities and be able to better handle them because you are with us, Amen."
Sent in by: Anna Scott, Sneads Ferry Presbyterian Church, NC
Props: a clear container that can hold about a gallon of water, food coloring, an old towel, a wooden spoon, and bleach with a label on it that says Forgiveness -love God (rubber gloves are optional!) WARNING!!! this can be messy if not done properly, so you might want to practice before-hand!
Lesson: set the towel down first and then place the container with water in it in the center of the towel in order to avoid as much mess as possible. set the food coloring out in plain view but hide the bleach bottle
Leader- "Lets pretend that this pitcher of water is one of us, it's a person, what can we name it?" (wait for response, pick a name at random- we use 'Fred' as an example)
Leader- "Ok so Fred here has a problem, he sins. Who knows what sin is? (wait for response)
Leader- "That's right, its when we do something that God doesn't like. You know what else? Fred is just like all of us because we all sin too. Now lets pretend something else, ok? Lets pretend that this food coloring is like our sin. (open food coloring and ask for examples of sinning) We are going to pretend that Fred is doing all of the things that you are naming. ok. When ever any one says a sin i will drop a little food coloring into the pitcher because that is something that Fred is doing wrong. (wait for input from kids, and at every idea drop a little food coloring into the water. let this continue for about 10 ideas.
If you are feeling brave you can have the kids drop the food coloring in when they say an idea but like i said only if you are feeling brave, very very brave!)
Leader- "So what happened to Fred? He turned all different colors! When we see it like this, we can see that when we sin it effects us. It makes us not so pure and clear anymore doesn't it? Well how do we fix that? Is there something we can do to be pure again? something that will take our bad record and turn it into a clean slate? (wait for response)
Leader-"What about asking for forgiveness from God? Would that work? (bring out disguised bleach bottle) Well let's see (slowly pour about a cup of bleach into the water after that is done stir the bleach into the mixture is should almost completely remove the color from the water.) I think it worked, what about you? Lets pray
Prayer: "Lord help us to remember that we are human and that means we will make mistakes, help us also to remember that your forgiveness is there if we just ask for it, Amen"