I'd like to invite the children...

The children's message is a completely theological invention, and if you look at it just right it tells the story of the Gospel all by itself. Of course the content of the message will share the story; that's what it's for. Most of the time, the adults in the congregation will get a lot out of the children's message to.

Even more than that, the way the children walk up to hear it encapsulates the Gospel. When the minister calls for them, the children don't just suddenly appear at the front of the church to listen. First, one brave child stands up and walks away from his parens, looking back every few feet to see if his friends are following. It's hard to be the only one who comes up for the message; it means you have to answer all the questions by yourself.

Once the kids see someone walking, a few more start to drift up, and then the momentum begins. Young children toddle up, holding their parents' hands tightly, unafraid as long as Mom or Dad is there. Older ones run, (even though you're not supposed to run in church) because they don't want to be late.

Soon the whole crowd is there, and they know something exciting is about to happen. Their pastor has a story for them.

In the beginning of his ministry, Jesus walked by himself, stopping now and then to ask if others were going to come along. He didn't draw everyone, just like the children's message doesn't pull every child out of the pews (someone is always too cool for this) but slowly a few started to follow and listen. And they told their friends. And the momentum grew greater and greater, and suddenly no one wanted to miss the message.

No comments: