Preaching to a Multi-generational Congregation

My church recently called a new pastor. His first several sermons were delivered to a camera and streamed on YouTube. The pandemic has been pretty weird here as he has attempted to build relationships while not being able to see his people. When we started talking about re-gathering with no nursery or childcare, my pastor stepped into my office and asked what he could do while preaching to reach a multi-generational crowd. He knew that Stone Ridge has not provided a separate kids worship service during our corporate worship service for several years, but because of social distancing, he had not yet preached to a physically gathered congregation. Further, we would not be providing nursery and childcare for our littles for many weeks. In thinking through these things, he asked me, his KidMin, for some advice.

So I Said

Keep sermons concise. When I was in seminary, my professors talked heavily about eloquence and using as few words as possible to express your points when preaching and teaching. This is important for all ages, especially kids.

Use words that are in everyone’s vocabulary. A typical preschooler only knows about 500 to 1500 words. Elementary kids know significantly more words (about 24,000), but their word bank is still far below that of teens and adults. This does not mean that every word has to be on the level of a preschooler, but main points should include vocabulary which spans every age group whenever possible.

Make illustrations relatable to more than one age group. If the pastor always tells stories or uses object lessons that only speak to parents or adults, kids will tune out and not connect with his points. Every illustration need not relate to kids specifically, but some should.

It is the desire of every God-fearing pastor to faithfully preach the Word so that lives are transformed by the power of the Spirit regardless of age. My new pastor displays this desire, and I was highly encouraged when he asked me how he could better speak to the very youngest of us. It is not an easy task, and it’s all the harder for many churches who are not accustomed to having elementary and/or preschool kids in corporate worship. KidMins, help and encourage your pastor and prepare and equip your parents. Pastors, seek advice from you KidMins and from other pastors. This is an odd season, but it can be exciting if we embrace change and seek to bring glory to God as we minister to His people.

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