In “Postmodern Children’s Ministry” Ivy Beckwith makes the case for no children’s messages/sermons/moments (“most children’s sermons do little to engage the community as a whole”). For those times though when she does participate in traditional children’s sermons she writes, “I’m very careful not to fall into the trap of using symbolic language and abstract ideas. While the adults love the traditional object lesson, most children never make the connection between the nifty science experiment and the spiritual truth it’s supposed to represent. Therefore, I use the children’s sermon to retell the biblical narrative on which the sermon is based.”
Artist and pastor Adam Walker Cleaveland, with his Illustrated Children’s Moments, has created a resource to help church leaders do just that…tell the story. HURRAH!! Original (and very engaging!) artwork is provided along with a Leader’s Guide. The guide assists the adult not only in telling the story but also in helping children discover what they might notice about the story (themes to use, questions to ponder).
I love the flexibility and creativity of the artwork making it useful beyond the time with the children “up front.” Hand out copies on card stock for children to take home, use as bulletin covers, and provide as coloring sheets (all illustrations are available in black and white too). How about a weekly post in your church’s Facebook group for parents, sent in an e-newsletter, or enlarged as posters in the church hallways or bulletin boards?
On his website Adam says (isn’t this great!):
“I intentionally have called this resource, Illustrated Children’s Moments, because I am not wanting to create a sermon for kids. I’m hoping this won’t be a time when someone just comes up with a talk and then delivers it to the kids, prays and then shoos them out of the sanctuary. Rather, this is moment with children. A moment to tell a story and to see how art can stir up their imagination and creativity.”
Check it out! No really…go there now! You’ll find five free samples when you sign up for the newsletter. And two available for sale ($1!) for this Sunday (one for the Narrative Lectionary and one for the Revised Common Lectionary). And more coming soon. And then tell us what you think. Will this be a useful tool to engage all generations?
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