Monday, December 19, 2011

Come As A Child

Do you know what I have observed as the most effective ministerial tool in church, regardless of the denomination, affiliation, or style of worship? Puppets. Because once kids are called down front for the children's sermon, whether you are a parent (praying silently under your breath that your kid stays still and quiet or doesn't pass gas loudly) or not, every eye is transfixed on the felt missionaries of the Gospel at the front of the church.
Puppets available from

Maybe it's because we have a Jim Henson-induced nostalgic twinge in our hearts when the show begins. Or maybe it's because the message is so simple that it resonates at a deeper level than all the rest of the service before or after the puppet show. 

...which is why I always hate to follow the things when I speak. It's like they're the ultimate opening act.

I know that I often fall into the trap of "how do I package this message" when I am preparing to preach. It's not that I believe that I should deliver my message by rote with no passion or vocal inflection, nor that I should obsess over working on making it a production complete with trendy and hip backgrounds, music, fonts, and clothes worn by me. But why do we - I - try to at times make things far more difficult and complex than they need to be? Am I truly trying to say what the Spirit has laid upon my heart, or am I trying to hyper-intellectualize my lesson, fearing that if I boil it down it will seem too simple?

Since this is a seasonal-appropriate example to give: go watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. Not only will you probably sit there in silence as you watch it (now contrast that with how many times you allow yourself to be distracted/intentionally distract yourself in church), but when you get to that scene...and you know the scene I'm talking about...

You'll remember what Christmas is all about.

And maybe, just maybe, what church is all about.

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