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.