Sunday, August 9, 2009


Our associate pastor was out of town this weekend so Kim asked me if I would be willing to fill in.  I hadn't really taken a "pastor" role at Pilgrimage since Con Ed II ended back in April, so it was SO nice to be behind the pulpit again.  It just feels right.

Kim's sermon was about hospitality, so I tried to bring that into my children's sermon.  Children's sermons actually terrify me (people think I'm nuts for thinking this, but children are so intuitive, gearing a sermon directly towards them - with the adults watching - is difficult) so I came prepared with props.

I compared the hospitality shown in churches to "goodie bags" that they give and receive at birthday parties.  To show them how happy we were to have them at church and to all be back together for Sunday School now that the summer is coming to a close, I gave them each a goodie bag of hospitality (ie, M&Ms).  We talked briefly about different ways they can be hospitable in church.  Then - instead of me just closing in prayer - I had the kids repeat a really simple prayer after me, line by line.

We prayed this prayer:
Dear God, Thank You for welcoming us into Your house.  You make us feel so special.  Help us to welcome others.  Amen.

I know there is a very real possibility that my first call will be as an associate, working a lot with youth and children so I'm grateful for every opportunity given to me to gain more skills to strengthen my ministry.

But - more than that - I'm grateful for every opportunity to sit with a group of children and listen to their small voices reach up to heaven in prayer.

I experience the presence of God through moments like that.


  1. I could go for a big bag of hospitality right now. Mmmm, hospitality.

  2. So, you completely don't know me--but I graduated Candler Last year. I was on TTO, and then found your blog through a link on Lauren Lobenhofer's...anyway....

    Great idea for a Children's sermon. It made sense with the topic, etc. But, just a thought on Children's sermons. Your church might be small enough that you know all the kids, but be careful giving out candy or food at a children's sermon. You never know when a visitor might come and bring a kid who's allergic to chocolate--then you just handed them chocolate that their mom might have to pry away. Or maybe they are gluten-intolerant or ADD or whatever. Its one thing in a classroom where a parent can tell you that--its another in a children's sermon when there isn't a chance for a parent to tell you or maybe to even grab it before the kid eats it. Its probably not a big deal, and I'm sure no kids were hurt. I've just been at a church where it did really cause a scene, and its something to at least consider.

    Ok, again, you don't know me, I should probably keep my mouth shut...but it was a thought.

  3. Hi Emily - I had to laugh with how you started your comment because I feel like even though I may never have met someone at Candler, through TTO and blogs sometimes I feel like I KNOW them - does that make sense?

    Thanks for the suggestion about children's time. Pilgrimage is such a small church that stuff like that isn't an issue, but I'm definitely grateful for reminders that it's not like that in every church (I've really only ever been in small churches). I told the kids to ask their parents before eating the chocolate, but maybe next time I offer the goodie bags on the way out of church when they're with their parents - or have an alternative to chocolate.

    That and hopefully I won't find out I'm doing this on Friday night, put it off to Saturday and try to figure something out while watching SVU!!

    Thanks for commenting, I LOVE getting suggestions for life, ministry, etc. etc. (and when it comes to children's ministry I need lots of suggestions!!)

    So that's the long way of saying you should never feel like you should keep your mouth shut while commenting here!!

  4. I really like what this post was about. If you read my post from today you'll see how hard it can be to be the one starting out new to a church. Even yesterday when I left the new church I had visited, I just couldn't help but think that there really weren't that many people there who took the time to say hi.

    The sad thing is, I used to be one of those people. Not wanting to step out of my comfort zone, I would rarely greet a new person. But then, if you stop and look at it through the eyes of the new person, they NEED you to care and to be nice enough to go out of your way to show them that you're glad they're there.

    P.S. Your hospitality bags were too cute too!

  5. I, too, used to be terrified of children's time. I've gotten used to it, although sometimes I still feel lost on what to say and how to say it. I've also had some fun and random props in the past! And the fact that I'm not very maternal does not help the situation! and learn :)

  6. M&Ms are okay for gluten kiddos! But probably not dairy and some other allergies.

    And what better way to get kids attention than food, specifically chocolate!

  7. Grins, it is odd how you feel like you "know" people you've never actually "met". I wrote a facebook note about it (my public place for blogs) at the end of my second year. I'd gone to a party where everyone was on TTO, so I "knew" them, but had never actually spoken to them. And it was odd.

    Thanks for not thinking I was a total whacko. And good to know that M&Ms are gluten free. I just have been in a church where we gave candy that a kid couldn't have that created a scene in worship and a melt down. It made me sad for all involved, and makes me extra careful.

    But the idea/concept is TOTALLY cute and cool and great. Yay for inspiration!!


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