Children's Sermons

Sermon #1

By Frank Ramirez
Frank Ramirez is the pastor of the Everett (PA) Church of the Brethren. He has been a pastor for over thirty years, is the author of many books and with his wife Jennie shares three adult children and three grandchildren.

Preparations

You will need two small planting pots, one with just dirt, and the other with dirt, plant food, and seeds. You could alternately illustrate this story by drawing two pots on a sheet of newsprint, and augmenting the drawing as you tell the story.


Concept

Welcome. I’m glad you are here for the story today. As you can see, we have two small pots for growing plants. Can you share your ideas with me about things you think would be good or fun to grow, or maybe share what you have grown in a garden?

(Listen for a few moments, repeating what children suggest would be fun to grow.)

Those are all good ideas. I hope you all get the chance to grow something good. It is amazing to think of a little seed becoming something we can eat, or a flower that makes the world a little more beautiful. But today, all we have in this pot is dirt. Just dirt.

But in this other pot I have dirt, plant food, and seeds. I have watered the plant, and also made sure it had sunlight every day.

Now in which pot do you think we might see a growing plant? That’s right: in the one with the seeds, water, plant food and sunlight. Now, you never know, maybe the plant won’t grow. But there is a much better chance that something will grow in this pot than the one with no seeds, or water in it!

One of Jesus’ friends named Paul, shared a similar message. He wrote to the Christians in the city of Corinth two thousand years ago. He said: “the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (1 Corinthians 9:6).” If you don’t plant any seeds, you won’t get anything, and the more seeds you plant, the more you’ll get!

But the apostle Paul wasn’t just talking about plants. He was talking about the hungry people in Jerusalem, hundreds of miles away. Food would not grow there because there was no water. And Paul was asking some other churches to send money to help out. And part of what he meant was, the more you give, the more good you will do. And if you don’t give to help others, you won’t help at all. It’s like our pots of dirt—if we don’t plant any seeds, nothing happens!

Then Paul said one more thing. He said. “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (1 Corinthians 9:7).” And that’s just as important. We should give with happy hearts, not because someone made us do it. Being cheerful about our giving is like putting plant food in this little pot. The plant might grow without it, but the extra boost can help it grow even stronger and more beautiful.

I hope you will be able to give something to help. It’s like planting seeds and watching them grow. That’s what our One Great Hour of Sharing is about. Helping people and communities around the world grow stronger. No matter how much you can give, I hope you will give with happy hearts. When we share what we have, joy springs up!

 

Sermon #2 -  (can also be used as an Intergenerational Activity)
By Kathy Fuller Guisewite

Kathy Guisewite is a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren and is a trained Spiritual Director.  Most recently, Kathy was approved as a Pastoral Care Specialist through the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.  Kathy is also one who loves exploring life and spiritual matters through various artistic ventures.

There is this beautiful contagious element to laughter, and this activity is sure to add joy to a time of worship, a church meal or fellowship time.

For use as a Children’s Sermon:

This week, our church is joining together with lots and lots of churches all over the country for something called One Great Hour of Sharing. We share our money so that it can be used to help take care of people in need all over the world. The theme for One Great Hour of Sharing this year is “Sharing brings joy to others.” What better way to share joy than through laughter?  Laughter is one of those gifts that doesn’t cost a dime and is so easily shared! No matter how old or young we are, no matter how much money we have, we can all share joy with others through laughter.

Now, I know we don’t normally laugh in church, but we’re going to today, and some of the grown-ups might need your help doing it. There are lots of different ways we can laugh. Let’s try a few, and maybe when the grown-ups see us do it, they can try it too. Let’s try to:

Laugh like you are trying to hold it back
Laugh with your shoulders
Laugh without showing your teeth
Laugh with your mouth wide open
Laugh without making a sound

(You may think of others as well).

Good job! We’ve seen that when we share our laughter, it brings joy to others. The same is true when we share other gifts, like our time, our talents, and our money. This week, think about ways that your sharing can bring joy to others.

Let’s close with a prayer: O God, help us to remember that we all have simple gifts to share with others in need.  We never know when a smile or a song or a kind word will add joy to the heart of another.  Thank you for this fun reminder, and for all the laughter so easily shared in this place. Amen.

For use at a group gathering, such as a church dinner or fellowship time:

Use a similar introduction as the Children’s Sermon, but as long as there is ample space, involve everyone in trying “Laughter Circles.”

Half of the participants will form an inner circle that moves clockwise.

The other half of the participants will form an inner circle that moves counter-clockwise.

Both circles will walk in their designated circle throughout this activity and acknowledge each person they pass.

One person will call out various styles/forms of laughter for all participants to join in.

Some suggestions for various ways to laugh could include:

Laugh like you are trying to hold it back
Laugh with your shoulders
Laugh without showing your teeth
Laugh with your mouth wide open
Laugh without making a sound

At the end, you may close with a prayer:

O God, help us to remember that we all have simple gifts to share with others in need.  We never know when a smile or a song or a kind word will add joy to the heart of another.  Thank you for this fun reminder, and for all the laughter so easily shared in this place. Amen.


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Ms. Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org