A Pastors First Sunday

Children’s Message for A Pastor’s First Sunday

This children’s sermon is written to help pastors connect with children in their new congregations. It should be presented by someone other than the new pastor. It’s intended to be an introduction for both the children and the pastor. It is adapted from a Midrash written by Rabbi Marc Gellman in his book“Does God Have a Big Toe?” Though the book is out of print, there are still many copies floating around in used bookstores and online. Special thanks to Rev. Kevin Armstrong who introduced me to the children of North United Methodist Church using a similar retelling and application of this Midrash.

Good morning boys and girls! Today I want to share with you a story about a story in the Bible. These stories are called Midrash. And this story is about the story of creation, way at the beginning of all things. God had just finished creating the whole world, the sky and land, the sea, the plants, and of course the animals. God had named most things, even the first human, who’s name was Adam. But God didn’t name the animals. God wanted Adam to name the animals.

Adam was thrilled to name the animals! He saw a big, brown furry animal with teeth who was sleeping under a tree and yelled in its ear: “I’m going to name you!” The brown furry with teeth opened one eye, yawned, and went back to sleep.

(look worried) But Adam didn’t know what to name the brown furry with teeth. He didn’t know what to name any of the animals!

So, he decided to call the brown furry with teeth, number one. (look smug) Adam spent the rest of the day numbering the animals….

But then… (look frustrated and sad) Adam lost count.

He needed a new plan (thinker pose)

(excitedly announce:) Finally, he had it! Adam declared, “I’ll call all the animals, “Hey You!” (look smug) Adam thought this was super smart because then he only had to remember one name.

The next day, Adam needed a big rock moved. He wanted the large-grey-wringled-up-long-nosed-big-eared-white-tusked-tree-eating-stomper for the job, so he yelled (cup your hands around your mouth) “Hey You!”

But the rather-small-quite-noisy-banana-eating-swinger showed up instead. And just stood on the rock eating a banana.

(look very discouraged) Adam didn’t know what to do. He went back to the brown furry with teeth to think of a new plan.

Then, the brown furry with teeth woke up. Shook Adam and said, (put your hands on your hips) “Did you ever think to ask us animals what we want to be named? I don’t know what they call a skinny-hairless-foot-walker like you, but I’m a bear.”

So, Adam asked all the animals what they wanted to be called and they told him! (smile really big!) 

Today, our brand new pastor is here with us and I think we should do the same thing. Let’s ask her/him what we she/he wants to be called. So, pastor, what would you like us to call you? (this is when the pastor should very clearly communicate to the children, and even the congregation, how she/he prefers to be addressed)

Thank you title name! And over the next few months, I know  title name will want to know your names, too. So, please speak up and tell her/him what you are called.

Let’s pray together:

Holy God, thank you for the gift of new friends and new beginnings. We are so glad you have brought  title name to our congregation and you have called all of us by name to follow you. Amen.

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Goodbye Kids

Goodbye Kids

Moving is part of being a United Methodist Elder. We serve a connectional system in which the bishop seeks to match local congregations with pastors for the best fit to further the work of Jesus’ mission to make disciples. It’s both difficult and exciting. It’s hard to leave a church, a community of people you have come to know and love. At the same time, it’s exciting to meet new people and see how God is alive in their midst. Perhaps the most important thing is to leave well in order to begin well.

As I thought about how to say goodbye to North United Methodist Church, I immediately wondered about the best way to share my farewell wishes with children. I turned to my trusted source of all good things: Pinterest. I found a lot of good ideas but none that spoke directly to the relationship of being a pastor in ministry with children.

Thankfully, inspiration struck and the pieces began to come together from a variety of Pins and blog posts. I decided to give each child a personalized magnet with a poem adapted to a pastoral role. As I made the magnets, I thought about each child and prayed for him/her. It turned out the process of making these gifts was a balm for my soul as I said my goodbye and trusted their care to the pastor who will follow me.

Saying goodbye is always hard. It is especially hard when ministry has been good and love is shared. But when we remember goodbye is really a blessing of care, then the ritual can become a time to remember and bless one another.

Personalized Magnets with Poem

Materials

Directions

  • select a picture of each child
  • place the large bead on the desired area of the picture
  • trace around the bead
  • cut out the bead shape
  • use your finger to add modpodge to the back of the glass bead and attach it to the picture
  • press firmly along the back and edges to remove air bubbles and ensure the picture is secure
  • allow to dry
  • add a small piece of magnet tape to the back
  • put the magnet and a copy of the poem in a cello bag and seal it closed