Presenting children’s sermons can be hazardous. Growing up along the bluffs of the Missouri River, I often heard the stories of the riverboat captains navigating uncertain waters, where the currents and the hidden dangers were ever-changing. The same skills of anticipation and avoidance are required each time you proceed with a message to children. Just as you feel you are cruising, you will find that the current has put a new sandbar in your path. However, when a journey is completed and you see in a child’s eyes that you have made an impact, the challenges become worthwhile.

Several tips follow that may help you avoid some of the more constant sandbars. First, remember that questions are tricky currents, capable of taking the group on side trips you never anticipated (and often can’t control). Try to think like a child and dream up every possible answer you might get and then plan how to steer that response back on course. Also, use language and terms they will understand, but don’t talk down to them. Religious terminology such as transgression, repentance and resurrection have no meaning to them at this stage. Blank stares looking back at you will be your first clue of impending disaster. Illustrations meaningful to a five-year-old and props of nearly any kind will help keep their attention. There’s nothing more distracting than having a group member leave and go back to Mom and Dad just as you are reaching your destination. Kid overboard! Finally, stay relaxed and keep right on steering through the wrestling matches and the scratching of various body parts that would be distracting to a lesser mortal.

Please take these messages and recreate them in your own style. Substitute your own personal illustrations, and keep them alive by using current local events. I hope what I have provided here will allow each of you to venture further upstream and make new discoveries.
Godspeed on your journey.