It is the most challenging assignment I face nearly every week. It is much harder than it might appear. Fellow ministers are no longer doing it, if at all possible. Some even say it is pointless to try. Yet I press on with it. It is almost harder than sound preaching and deep praying. I have to do it in public in front of people with short attention spans and little children as well. But it can become the sweetest moment in my week—when a genuine connection is made, a truth becomes real, a life memory is formed.
I count three people as the ones who taught me the basics: Don Herbert taught me curiosity; Fred Rogers taught me patience; and Bob Willets taught me spiritual application. Don Herbert was TV’s Mr. Wizard, turning ordinary objects into mysteries of science. He taught me the importance of the “Wow!” Mr. Rogers, of course, taught us all how to get along in the neighborhood. He taught me that not everything needs a “Wow.” Dr. Bob Willets, my predecessor, taught me that absolutely everything in the world contains a spiritual truth. These three gave me the confidence to attempt the Children’s Sermon. They did not mention I would be dealing with actual children.
It was in dealing with preschoolers and grade-schoolers that I came to understand the difference between literal speaking (a boat is a toy that floats) and speaking in metaphors and similes (a boat can be like a safe place on the waters of life). But then some little voice in front of me may proclaim, “A boat floats unless it’s got a hole in it. Then everyone drowns.” The crowd laughs, the preacher sweats, God teaches, and a different spiritual application connects to a young heart. These sweetest moments always go best when God brings the “Wow.”
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Connect to the Spirit. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.