Get creative – and – keep the congregation’s full attention. This can’t fail approach requires zero preparation and gets kids involved since they bring the object each week.
I’m not certain who first coined the idea of “Sermons in a Sack,” but if you need a break from the usual children’s sermons, this is a good alternative for summer. These kids messages in a sack are creative, interactive ways of sharing Bible lessons, scripture passages, or characteristics of God. It’s an object lesson, utilizing an object of the child’s choosing.
Typically, one child is given a brown paper lunch bag to fill with any item. The “sack” is then given to the teacher. It is the teacher’s responsibility (and challenge) to teach about God, using that particular object. Children will love the opportunity to stump the teacher! If the message is given during the regular service, adults get a pretty good kick out of this as well. Everyone appreciates a good visual; the more random, the better.
Using Children’s Sermons In A Sack
1. Introduce the concept.
Start off with a random item of your choosing in a paper bag. Use that object to teach a lesson. Remember to always end up at the cross, sharing the crux of the gospel. Be creative!
2. Select a child to be the recipient of the first paper bag.
Encourage him/her to stump the teacher with an item of their choosing. Have the child return the bag the following week.
3. If you are good on your feet, teach the object lesson utilizing the child’s item.
Be ready because kids can bring some funny objects for the lesson. The pressure is on but don’t worry because we have a simple formula in case you go blank.
- Name the item out-loud and describe it’s color, shape, and purpose. (15 seconds)
- Ask the kids if this object reminds them of anything in the Bible. (30 seconds or more) This can be fun but also gives you time to gather your own thoughts. If one of the kids shares a great idea go with that.
- Finally share your Bible connection (that you just thought of while the kids where talking). If possible use something concrete that relates to a Bible memory verse you know by heart.
- Backup plan …. if you’re still drawing a blank simple say …
- Wow kids. I am completely surprised by that object. You kept such a good secret and I just didn’t know what was coming.
- Did you know that God knows everything that’s a secret – Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13
- That’s one cool thing about God. He doesn’t get surprised by anything. He knew this object was going to be in the sack. He knows what we all ate for breakfast. God knows and cares about each of you. (Elaborate as time allows).
- God also knows when we do wrong. Even if nobody else knew God still sees what happened. We all have to give an answer to God for the things we choose to do. The goods news is that anyone who follows Jesus will pass that test because of the things Jesus chose to do. Jesus always obeyed God, gave up his life for our sin, and then rose again to be our King.
4. Distribute an empty bag to another child in order to keep the sermons going.
The whole church will look forward to this each Sunday, especially if you can do tie the object back into the Gospel story. You could even write the Hebrews 4:13 reference on the sack.
5. It’s always good to keep a spare “Sermon in a Sack” ready to go, in the event that the child with the bag is not present.
Being prepared will save you and the forgetful child from being embarrassed. Another option is to hand out the bag to a child during Sunday school, this means they will have to think quick with their classmates help.
Optional: Put Pastoral Staff On The Spot
If your church’s ministry will play along, have a different staff member attempt to give the children’s sermon each week. This can be a easy & fun way for the other ministers to be more involved in the children’s ministry.
Share Your Children’s Sermon Ideas?
Have you tried sermon’s in a sack? What creative objects have you utilized for teaching purposes? What are some of the most random things you have used to share the gospel?