A Spot for the Juniors

A Spot for the Juniors

When we as ministers plan for our Sab­bath worship service, would it not be well for us to ask ourselves the question, "Does the order of my service offend the little ones in my congregation?"

By C. M. MELLOR, Pastor-Evangelist, South Side Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

When we as ministers plan for our Sab­bath worship service, would it not be well for us to ask ourselves the question, "Does the order of my service offend the little ones in my congregation?" Jesus said, "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matt. 18:6. If the children of our congregations are to be the "church of tomorrow," and if the minister is under sacred commission from his Lord to feed "the lambs" as well as "the sheep," cer­tainly we should plan a part of our worship to appeal to the boys and girls as well as the older folk.

It is a fundamental principle of homiletics that a good worship program and preaching service should appeal to the entire family. Otherwise it would be advantageous for us to separate into divisions as the Sabbath school does. The eleven o'clock hour is the one meet­ing where all members of the family unite in common worship to God. Therefore, it should appeal to all ages.

During the past few years it has been our plan to have a special junior youth's sermon to precede the regular Sabbath message. From five to ten minutes are allowed for this part of the service, and the children are asked to come forward and occupy the front seats. The speaker leaves the platform so that he can be closer to the little folk. There are two reasons why the boys and girls are asked to come for­ward : First, it works off a large amount of the potential restlessness that usually reaches its climax during the regular sermon. Second, it teaches them to "walk softly in God's sanctu­ary." It is interesting to see how quiet and rev­erent little ones can be when they catch the idea.

Another reason the children's sermon is a successful part of the Sabbath worship service is that it gives the minister an opportunity to bring lessons to the whole congregation on Christian standards and living. If a minister talks too much about the standards of the church in his regular Sabbath sermons, he may get a negative reaction. However, in a youth's sermon God's servant can mention some very definite things. Thus, while a strong founda­tion of Christian living is being generated in the hearts of the boys and girls, the older folk are thinking seriously too, but they do not feel that the preacher is pointing them out person­ally while he is talking to the children.

Having an interest in the youth of the church pays big dividends. It builds love and confidence between the minister and the boys and girls.

They enter into the church program whole­heartedly, and a sincere co-operation is appar­ent. When the time comes for them to become church members, they often go to the minister and request baptism even before he approaches them. Thus they make their own personal de­cision.

There are various types of children's ser­mons, and it is wise for the ones in charge of these services to see that there is a variety. First, there is the regular story type, which is the most common. One can draw experiences from his own life and observations. Then too, the "mission" section of the Review and Her­ald, the Youth's Instructor, and bedtime story­books give many interesting accounts and stories that appeal to boys and girls.

Object lessons are always interest catching. If one is observing he can find many things that will help drive home the lessons of Christ to the little ones. There are a number of books available that give suggestions as to object talks. A series of books written by Elmer L. Wilder and published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, contains many fine sugges­tions. A few of his titles are Heart-reaching Object Lessons, Easy Object Lessons, Sight Sermons, etc. More Objects That Talk and Teach by Louis T. Talbot is also published by Zondervan. Many other books may be obtained from libraries or religious bookstores that sug­gest excellent sermons.

Chalk talks always interest the whole congre­gation as well as the boys and girls. Of course, for a regular worship service, they must be simple and to the point. Also they must be of the higher type. Some suggestions may be found in a book published by Meigs Publishing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. It is entitled Crayon and Character, by B. J. Griswold.

Often one is forced to adapt some of the youth sermons of these various publications so that they fit into his message. Usually a person with average imagination can find material for an interesting, appropriate children's sermon that will fit into the spirit of the worship serv­ice. In most congregations there are several people who can occasionally help the minister in this form of worship by telling the story, thus relieving him of the constant pressure that such a program demands.

The youth of today are a great challenge to the minister of the gospel. Any attention and love that he may show the boys and girls will surely be recorded in the books of heaven as a noble deed. Let us hold our youth with the truth!

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By C. M. MELLOR, Pastor-Evangelist, South Side Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

October 1947

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