When preaching to children, it is important to purposely tailor your message to them. If you do not, you will find that it goes over their heads and is of little practical help to them. Here are a few thoughts that may help you as you preach to children.
And by the way, let me suggest that you look for occasions to preach to children. If you have a Christian school, preach in chapel—both to the elementary and the teens. If you have a children’s program on Wednesday night, try to get a chance to speak there on occasion. If possible, slip into the junior church and preach once in a while. Perhaps you wish to do what some pastors do, and during a service have the children come to the platform and address them there. Don’t neglect children! The younger they are when you begin to build a relationship with them, the better your chances are of influencing them when they get older.
1. Start with Quiet Excitement
Children are sometimes noisy and active. We tend to raise our voice in order to get their attention. The trouble is that any good-sized crowd of children can be louder together than we can be individually. If however, our eyes are wide and our voice is intense but our volume is low, they will begin to lower their volume so that they don’t miss what you are saying.
2. Get on Their Level
Get on their level intellectually. Try to remember the vocabulary of the children to whom you are speaking. Try to remember their level of understanding. Make sure that your illustrations pertain to their lives. Also, get on their level physically. It is often helpful to bend down and look young children in the eye; to crouch on one knee and have yourself level with them.
3. Ask Questions
Little children love to answer questions. They want to be right. They’ll raise their hands and sometimes shout out loud. But I guarantee their attention will be focused on you when you ask questions.
4. Use Volunteers
Let the children stand beside you to be part of an illustration. Let them hold the memory verse. Let them hold the Scripture. Let them read the Scripture. The more children you have involved, the better attention their peers will pay. Many of them will also pay attention, hoping that they will get to be one of the volunteers.
5. Keep It Simple!
I suspect the reason we sometimes preach complicated messages that are difficult for people to understand is because we don’t understand the truth ourselves. Note that the Lord Jesus often used simple illustrations that were easy for the ordinary person to understand. In fact, I find it instructive as well that little children loved to be around the Lord Jesus.
6. Have the Children Repeat Your Main Points
If you have two, three, or four main points, whether they be single words or sentences, have the children repeat them. Review this several times during your message.