God and Children in the Divine Service

Are you a fan or supporter of special messages for children in the Divine Service? How does your church handle these designated times?

The place where I have been called to has had a “children’s message.” Last week, I began going through the Small Catechism with the kids during this time. I trust that it will beneficial for all.

8 thoughts on “God and Children in the Divine Service

  1. When presented as an alternative to an entirely separate “children’s church,” the “children’s message” wins every time.

    As long as the message has to do with Christ, and could maybe even be relevant to the pericope, it might be a good time to get across a message to the children that they may miss in the sublety of the sermon. Better yet, if you sow the seeds of the catechism now, you may reap greater rewards later during formal catechesis. Children are built well for the task of learning; you’d be surprised what they’ll retain. As long as the message isn’t condescending, they might appreciate that you’re taking time to explain what is often over their heads.

  2. At my church here in Kalamazoo, our Pastor doesn’t do a Children’s Message, so much as calling the children to the front to say a prayer over them… a lot of the times he also gives a short little thing usually dealing with the Catechism or the like.

  3. I am against special or separarate children’s messages. Especially during “Divine Worship” time.

    If the congregation insists, then that presents an opportunity for a “catechesis” moment. Therefore, I think a review of the Small Chatechism is exactly the right thing to do because the adults need it just as much as the children.

    At some point, the congregation will come to realize we are all children (in God’s eyes) and it becomes pointlessness to segregate God’s message to his children based solely on age.

  4. I too am not a huge fan of “Children’s Messages” especially since it is a time for the kids to do things to draw attention to themselves and parade their cuteness in front of all the boomers. Though if you just couldn’t get out of doing one, I’d say, put it before the invocation and hymn, tell them the story of the Gospel lesson and show them how the sermon ties into the church service in very non-abstract terms. Catechesis is another good thing to do, though at that age, it may be too abstract for them to comprehend (though at their age memorizing it is very important).

    Eventually you could move it to the end of the sunday school hour and have the children come together for catechetical time where you can again teach on the Scripture lessons and the liturgy.

  5. From what I have seen, most children’s messages are a time to entertain the adults as tutal said. I am glad that you are using the time to catechize the children. Have the kids repeat portions of the Small Catechism after you. This is good for two reasons. Your kids memorize the Small Catechism, and it bores the adults thereby getting them to do what you really want then to do which is get rid of the children’s message. After all why having Sunday School if you are going to have a Children’s message. Oh wait that assumes that Sunday School actually follows the lectionary.

  6. My husband has always been happy to deliver two sermons in one service, as his congregation has requested. The fact that one is directed at the children doesn’t prevent the adults from listening and learning as well.

  7. Like tutal said have the children’s “message” before the Divine service and use it to help your children learn/memorize the catechism. This begs the question if Pastors do that then why have Sunday school?

  8. I don’t see the Children’s message as a problem. I do agree that it is made a problem when it becomes entertainment for the adults and/or a time for the kids to draw attention to themselves. Obviously this will happen no matter what – afterall they are kids.
    It is a shame when I see pastors always doing “brown bag surprises” or simply “Jesus Loves You” platitudes all the time. And it certainly is irritating when they go out of their way to make it entertainment at the expense of any sort of depth.
    However this doesn’t mean that a children’s message can’t be done well. I do a children’s message for my parish and I, like Timotheos, usually go over something from the Catechism. The goal is two-fold, 1) to show the children that the Divine Service is something that is there for THEM NOW, not merely something that they must grow up in order to appreciate or to receive the benefits of, and 2) to model for parents what and how they should be already catechizing their children at home.

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