Jesus Unicorn

Today my wife, Hetty, is presenting a guest blog on the topic of children and worship.

Jesus Unicorn

Courtesy Google  images

Courtesy Google images

A young girl was given a notebook and some colouring pencils and pens while she sat in the pew with her family.  After a few weeks, her parents suggested that she listen to the sermon while she drew. By the end of the sermon she had drawn some pictures of a unicorn with the words ‘Jesus Unicorn’ above them.  Her parents were amused.
Some questions:
  • What did her parents believe children should be doing in a worship service?
  • Did they give her any guidance about what she could do with the writing and drawing materials?
  • What was the underlying message the child got concerning how she should behave in the worship service and from her parents’ subsequent suggestion?
Some ideas:
If you were her parents, how might you encourage her to participate in the worship service?
How would you begin a discussion with this child about ‘Jesus Unicorn’ which could lead her to a fuller experience of worship?
Paper and pencils are fine to keep a child’s hands busy, to keep a child quiet, and even as a stepping stone to taking notes of the sermon but it should never stop there.
Children can draw the stories they hear (and they should be hearing God’s stories, not just theological concepts) or their feelings. There should be a clear understanding of when they can draw/write and when they should be participating in the singing, praying, etc.  Parents should follow up with the child later. It may help if the parents also occasionally used paper and pencils during the sermon, and the family shared their pictures afterwards.
A warning:
Be careful not to let this become another kind of ‘school’ activity.
Help the child to use the writing and drawing, as well as the words they’re hearing and the images they’re seeing, as a way to explore their understanding of God, and the worship of Him.
Hetty Stok
Categories: Child Theology, Children, christian, christian education, Christianity, Church, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Jesus Unicorn

  1. Never thought about it that way before! I guess it’s about never wasting any opportunity. Ideally, church should be engaging kids as well as adults, so crayoning books shouldn’t be needed, but that’s in an ideal world. We often have to make the best of what we’ve got, which is what you are suggesting, not just tiding things over till the end of the service. Thanks for your insight.

  2. I totally agree!!! I remember when I was little I would draw pictures of the main idea of the sermon or something that stood out for me from the sermon. Until I got older and could start taking notes. Either way over lunch every Sunday we would and still do, go over the sermon together as a family and I think that it is a very beneficial time. as it strengthens not only our relationships as a family but even our own individual relationships with God.

  3. One Sunday night I was preaching and rhetorically asked, “Is anyone listening?” A boy of only 3 or 4 years old was laying on the floor under his pew drawing. In the silence of my question his little voice echoed among the pews, “I am.” I don’t know what Elias was drawing, but he was listening and learning.

  4. One Sunday night I was preaching and asked rhetorically, “Is anyone listening?” A little boy of 3 or 4 lay under his parent’s pew coloring. His tiny voice echoed in the silence, “I am.” I don’t know what he was drawing, but I know Elias was listening and learning.

  5. Donna Nair

    Very thought provoking and inspiring in ways of engaging kids who tell me they can’t understand the sermon. Esp when I miss half of it trying to “appease’ or ‘quieten’ them.
    Thank you for sharing and the attitude shift 🙂

  6. Hetty stok

    Modern parents micro-manage every second of their child’s life, including regular contact during the day with their childcare provider to check what the child ate and when they pooped. Yet many take their offspring to church on Sundays with no more thought than it takes to grab the pencils and colouring book and fill a container with crackers. The idea that their children could be there to worship God doesn’t even enter their minds.

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