This week I am at Wi-Ne-Ma Christian Camp on the Oregon coast. I have been here many times and find it a wonderful place to see God at work.
Several years ago I was asked to be the evening bonfire speaker for this particular week of camp. I know how to preach to adults, but this "congregation" is made up of 75-100 9,10 & 11 year olds. That is more of a challenge for me. The first year I did it, I was stewing over why in the world I had said yes to my children’s minister, and then my wife Loretta commented, "Why don’t you just tell them a story? You’re good at telling stories."
At first I thought, "I don’t want to tell a story…I am expected to give content! I need to give things that will give the kids things to think about, apply and remember from God’s Word." And then God prompted me…what do you think I was doing when I told parables?
And so I crafted my first story. It was six installments long (Sun-Fri) and both had to reinforce the daily Bible scripture or lesson of the day, but also had to be good story form…i.e. it had to hold together, be interesting, have flow and leave the kids wanting more. (Not bad suggestions for adult sermons either…)
So this is the fourth year I have done this. Every year it is fabulously received and people clamor for me to have each of the stories published. Although I have looked into that (and still would like to have that happened), I don’t know that the stories translate well into book form. They are first of all tied to the daily lessons. They are also shorter than more books for tweeners (this age group).
But I have learned a big lesson. Telling a story CAN be a very legitimate form of preaching. While some poo-poo it, I have seen the difference it can make in kids (and adults) lives.
So last night I began…
"Brandon knew he wasn’t supposed to be in the old barn. It was located on the most remote part of his grandparent’s property and he had been told repeatedly not to venture inside of it…."