Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sermon in the Sack

It has always been said that copying someone is the highest compliment. I am not sure such is always perceived as true. Few of my teachers along the way would have been excited about copied submissions when something original was what they had in mind. However, there are places where copying can be regarded as a compliment. Certainly, I hope such is true as I have been copying Bill Dupree now for over 40 years. Bill was the pastor at the Alma United Methodist Church when I went there years ago as a summer youth worker. His influence has been immeasurable over the years. He has always been such an encourager. When he did Children's Sermons, he would put an object in a brown paper sack, shake it around, ask the kids for guesses, and then pull out the object for a children's sermon. He called in a Sermon in the Sack. When I started doing Children's Sermons, I copied him. Still do. My children's sermons have always been called a Sermon in the Sack.
I thought about Bill and his idea as I started thinking about my Sermon in the Sack for tomorrow. Children's sermons are not as easy as they look. Gearing to a five year old's vocabulary is no easy task. Two or three minutes is about it. If what is to be said is not said in the briefest amount of time, the children's sermon turns into an exercise in how not to communicate. Those moments with children during worship have always seemed more about planting spiritual seeds than anything else. If a few have taken root, then I am more than blessed.
To be honest, only a few have been memorable. And to be even more honest is to admit the children and not me made memorable the ones that were. I can never forget the little girl at St. John who told us all one Sunday morning that her Momma was going to have a baby. Momma had not gotten around to telling the news herself and after the children's sermon was over, there was no need.

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