Elder's Digest file
1. Use an object lesson rather than just telling a story.
2. A little sleight of hand always captures children's attention. It can be used to drive home the point that things aren't always what they appear to be.
3. If the schedule is full, drop the children's story, but prepare pictures for the children to color during the sermon. Invite them to come to the front during a hymn to pick up their supplies. That gives them a chance to move around, but doesn't add to the time.
4. Invite the children to draw their interpretation of the sermon's message. Collect the drawings at the door as they leave, and put them on the notice board the next week. Make a feature of the display.
5. The week before Communion, have the children draw their interpretation of the meaning of Christ's death on the cross. Then put the drawings on the walls around the church on Communion day.
6. Plan a children's church once or twice a year. Let them be responsible for as much as possible.
7. Include the children's story in the sermon itself, telling them, in advance, to watch for some cue that will mean that their story is about to begin. It adds an element of suspense.
8. Encourage the older children to prepare an outline of the sermon.
9. Have a five-minute "adults' corner," then preach the entire sermon to the children, getting it down to their level.
10. Make a baby dedication part of the children's corner, using it as a springboard for a discussion about God's love for children and families.
11. As the congregation sings or the organ plays "Jesus Loves Me," invite all adults in the congregation to go to a child and tell him or her how happy they are that the child is part of the church family and how much they love having children in the church.
12. While the foot-washing ceremony is in progress during the Communion service, have a meaningful section for children that includes more than just nice little stories.
13. Have the children come to the front, form them into an impromptu junior choir, and have them provide a special item for the adults.
14. Form a choir of children. After a few rehearsals, have them provide a special item for the worship service.
About the use of testimonies
1. Interview someone in the congregation about his or her conversion, profession, outreach, etc. If something really good has happened to someone, interview the person about it. Let people share their joy and their gratitude toward God with the entire congregation.
2. Videotape an interview with a member, giving the person a chance to share his or her testimony. Show the person in the workplace, in the home, participating in a pastime, and at church.
3. Videotape a shut-in member, letting him or her share with the congregation the joy found in serving God despite adverse circumstances.
4. Provide opportunity for members to express emotion when something has happened that affects the entire congregation a major tragedy, a wonderful blessing, a crisis, etc.
5. Prime two or three people to react to the sermon, outlining how the truth just presented has affected their lives. Then open up to spontaneous comments. Be careful not to let comments run too long.
6. Don't limit reports of exciting outreach to Sabbath school or the Personal Ministries period. Give people the opportunity to share with the entire congregation. The interview format may help to keep them on track and to the point.
Ministry magazine, October of 1991, pp. 32-34