Problem With Kids in Worship?

This is one of those Willimon quotes worth a grand.

“Some churches tried to solve the problem of children in worship by concocting ‘children’s sermons,’ ‘children’s church’ and other devices to interest the children.  I feel that most of these efforts are misguided.  Many so-called children’s sermons are neither sermons nor are they for children.  They are usually petty, unscriptural, moralistic object lessons that children find difficult to follow because they cannot make the connection between the object and the lesson.  The children’s sermon is often for the parents – the preacher telling the children what Mommy and Daddy believe the children ought to hear.  Younger children cannot understand the moralisms put forth in the children’s sermon, and older children refuse to come forward for  the children’s sermon because they feel that they are being put on display and made to look foolish – which they often are.  By having a children’s sermon the church says, in effect, ‘Children, you are incapable of worshiping with the church.  The service is incomprehensible or irrelevant to you.”

William H. Willimon, A Guide to Preaching and Leading Worship (Louisville: WJK, 2008), 11-12.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

5 thoughts on “Problem With Kids in Worship?”

  1. […] Shane Lems quotes William H. Willimon on the issue of children in worship (from A Guide to Preaching and Leading Worship): “Some churches tried to solve the problem of children in worship by concocting ‘children’s sermons,’ ‘children’s church’ and other devices to interest the children. I feel that most of these efforts are misguided. Many so-called children’s sermons are neither sermons nor are they for children. They are usually petty, unscriptural, moralistic object lessons that children find difficult to follow because they cannot make the connection between the object and the lesson. The children’s sermon is often for the parents – the preacher telling the children what Mommy and Daddy believe the children ought to hear. Younger children cannot understand the moralisms put forth in the children’s sermon, and older children refuse to come forward for the children’s sermon because they feel that they are being put on display and made to look foolish – which they often are. By having a children’s sermon the church says, in effect, ‘Children, you are incapable of worshiping with the church. The service is incomprehensible or irrelevant to you.” […]

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  2. […] Shane Lems quotes William H. Willimon on the issue of children in worship (from A Guide to Preaching and Leading Worship): “Some churches tried to solve the problem of children in worship by concocting ‘children’s sermons,’ ‘children’s church’ and other devices to interest the children. I feel that most of these efforts are misguided. Many so-called children’s sermons are neither sermons nor are they for children. They are usually petty, unscriptural, moralistic object lessons that children find difficult to follow because they cannot make the connection between the object and the lesson. The children’s sermon is often for the parents – the preacher telling the children what Mommy and Daddy believe the children ought to hear. Younger children cannot understand the moralisms put forth in the children’s sermon, and older children refuse to come forward for the children’s sermon because they feel that they are being put on display and made to look foolish – which they often are. By having a children’s sermon the church says, in effect, ‘Children, you are incapable of worshiping with the church. The service is incomprehensible or irrelevant to you.” […]

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