Book: Sharing Faith with Children: Rethinking the Children's Sermon
Sara Covin Juengst. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1994. 116 pp., $11.99.
In her book Sharing Faith with Children, Sara Juengst addresses a dilemma many pastors face—whether or not to include a children's sermon in the worship service. After outlining the problem in chapter one, she moves into a description of the context of the children's sermon—the worship setting—in chapter two.
Juengst's statement at the end of chapter three best sums up why pastors should include a children's sermon in worship: "[It's] a priceless opportunity given by God to demonstrate love and care for our little ones in the way that Jesus did when he said, 'Let the children come'" (p. 28). Chapters four and five offer insights on how children think and how children grow in faith. Juengst gleans the information for these chapters from the works of noted researchers Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Lawrence Richards, Lawrence Kohlberg, Ronald Goldman, and James Fowler.
The spiritual needs of children are the focus of chapter six, including the spiritual needs, theological understanding, and prayer possibilities for three age groups: two- and three-year-olds, four-and five-year-olds, and six- through eight-year-olds.
In chapter seven Juengst suggests some excellent guidelines for the kinds of language and symbolism that are appropriate in children's sermons.
The author outlines some key elements and approaches for presenting the children's sermon in chapter eight. And in the final chapter she summarizes how to put it all together, using seven clues in the form of an anagram, CAPSULE.
This book is a "must read" for anyone who has to prepare children's sermons or who works with children. The practical information and suggestions will help to make sharing our faith with children a joyful and meaningful experience.