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July 2nd, 2010
07:59 AM ET

Guest post: The sermon through a child's eyes

Editor's note: Logan Keck is an assistant pastor at Christ the King in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. You can hear long sermons by him and others at www.ctkboston.org or follow him onTwitter.

By Logan Keck, Special to CNN

One of my goals as a pastor is to make sure the people in the pews, no matter what their background, can relate to my sermon. It doesn’t always happen.

Above are the sermons notes taken by one of the kids in our church. The girl who wrote “Why are the sermons so long? Why? Why? Why?...” is only 8 years old, but if you ask the average church-goer what they think of their weekly service, you will probably hear a similar remark.

The truth is, what makes so many Sunday morning messages unbearable often has more to do with relevancy than length.

I am still in my rookie season when it comes to preaching, but I have quickly learned that what keeps a crowd's attention is a pastor who can explain how the Bible, an ancient book written for a Mediterranean world, matters to them in their context.

I am not talking about the corny jokes or funny introductions many preachers use as a lead-in for 30 minutes of platitudes and abstractions, but honest truth from a person who believes what they are saying and has seen how it plays out in everyday life.

For me, that means being honest enough when I preach to share the truth of my shortcomings as a husband, father and pastor and helping people understand how even now we are all greatly in need of God's grace. Of course, it helps when most of the crowd is over 8 years old.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Logan Keck.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Sermon

soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. eranquina

    драгоценности, и если к этому соблазну присоединить еще то, что они в
    большинстве случаев получают очень скромное жалованье, то станет понятным,
    каким образом они доходят до воровства. Начинается дело обыкновенно тем, что
    они вступают в маленькие плутовские сделки с разного рода поставщиками
    товаров. Затем они пробуют украсть какую-нибудь серебряную или иную

    May 1, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  2. Henriet

    VERY late post. I appreciate this preacher's desire to get feedback from kids. They are often far more honest than adults are – I expect that adults may be thinking the very same things. Far too often, preachers spend a great deal of time saying absolutely nothing. A joke or video clip here and there, but the connections between these? Often the Bible isn't even read or referred to at all. I seriously wonder what people are being taught at seminaries.

    August 1, 2010 at 5:43 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      So often I pass churches with signs outside which they think will draw attention of the peoplepassing by, hoping to bring them in....
      It makes my spirit sick to see the way they use those signs to say things so shallow, and frivolous, cheapening the God to whom they are supposed to be witnesses ..... One seen lately said

      "Walmart is not the only saving place"

      Way to go, Americvan Chritianity!

      May 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      P.S. Re-posted to correct the spelling ....
      So often I pass churches with signs outside which they think will draw attention of the people passing by, hoping to bring them in....
      It makes my spirit sick to see the way they use those signs to say things so shallow, and frivolous, cheapening the God to whom they are supposed to be witnesses ..... One seen lately said

      "Walmart is not the only saving place"

      Way to go, American Christianity!

      May 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  3. Jerry Seltzer

    God bless anyone who has bothered to read this far down on the message thread. You have had to endure dozens of posts intent on making one of two counterpoints. Counterpoint A is that there is no proof of god and/or religion in all its forms is manipulative nonsense. Counterpoint B is that God is really, really, real, and you'll have all the evidence you need as soon as you pray for it. Christian pastors are armed with a great deal of proof if that's what you require to believe. Of course, the evidence is all hearsay or circumstantial. The only thing we know for sure is that all people need a god in their lives. You can choose the one Christians say is real, or one will be chosen for you. If you don't know who your god is, don't worry, there is an easy way to find out. Keep track of how you choose to spend your money. That is the god you live your life for. Today is a great day to choose a better one.

    July 12, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  4. Chris

    I'm in my first year as a Sunday school teacher to 8 and 9 year olds kids. We break our hour-long service up into three segments which include a lot of interaction, dynamic story-telling, crafts and at the end of the service I grill my kids with questions from the bible lesson for the week. If they get the questions right they get a piece of candy. Nothing motivates my kids as much as candy!

    July 12, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
    • Toby

      This is precisely what I am talking about when I say that religion is coersive and manipulative toward children. There is not an iota of evidence for the existence of heaven, hell, Jesus, god, or any afterlife whatsoever. But those who claim to know and be certain that there is all of this are indoctrinating innocent children with these horrors. These things simply do not exist in our natural world-they do not. If you see these things and they are real to you it is because they are a product of your mind; your imagination, if you will. Teach children what you DO know, what you CAN demonstrate. Teach children that they are beautiful in their own ways and that they have great potential to change this world for the better. Do NOT teach them that the brutal and bloody torture and execution of an innocent can expiate them of their actions and responsibilities. This is not only the stuff of fantasy, it is downright immoral. If Jesus had taught these things (instead of introducing the idea of eternal torture and damnation) we would all have been much better off.

      July 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • Brad

      @Toby, what you say bares a great deal of merit. However, I don't think we can shield our kids from manipulation of their minds. Retailers have successfully tied kids' sense of self-worth to particular brands of cloths. I know from personal experience that there is a strong connection between some of today's music and drug abuse. It wasn't the churches who sent the teen pregnancy rate into orbit. And I cannot imagine any good coming from some of the video games and the bloodbath called Hollywood. Secular society has demonstrated it's ability to inflict massive damage on our kids. But what should we do? Censor them?

      July 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  5. Brad

    Reason vs. religion as the guiding light for humanity is an interesting idea. Rationsism began to arise in the 16-17th centuries, with phenominal growth in scientific discovery in the 19th century. Human acheivement had become worthy of adoration. Then humanity turned it's new technoligies against itself and produced the meatgrinder of World War 1. THen human greed and folly produced the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. At the same time, Stalin with his purges and disappearanced of millions of people. Then World War 2: Dachau, Nanking, annihilation of complete cities like Dresden. I thought the last of human reason was incinerated over Hiroshima, but no. A thirty year Cold War set in. The survival of civilization depended on a policy called MADD (Mutually Assured Distruction). Christianity at least has an empty tomb and missing body. Rationists stand looking at the stinking corpse of human Reason and place a crown on its head. Human reason only works on an individual level – maybe.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:33 am |
  6. A Child of The King

    Good Morning All,

    Thank you all for the privilege of sharing my testimony and everyone's feedback.
    I do understand your responses and differences of belief. I too was there at one time, I hated God, I didn't believe and mocked him I spit in His face. I was gonna run my own life and for a long time I tried to with great failure. He showed me the truth and I can only speak of myself, as I am the one who has gone through my life and made my choices. I wouldn't change this one for anything and Praising the Lord – I cannot be plucked out of my Father's hand. I am secure for eternity.

    We are given a free will, that's where our choices come from. I'm not pushing it down your throat or chaining you to believe in God. If you have your own gods, that's what you have.

    I don't have an opinion from the bible. I know it's real. It is my prayer that all would see the truth.
    I just encourage you to read it. It's all in there. What would it hurt to just read it, I'm not trying to force or scare anyone.
    Just showing the beginning of the path.

    Take care, All. I am here to share what I know. I don't hate or put down any of you.

    July 12, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  7. michael

    keep up the good work Logan Keck it is a tough job trying to get some brains to work correctly.

    July 12, 2010 at 2:05 am |
  8. michael

    It is all about knowing right from wrong some peoples brains never get that far no matter how well the preaching.

    July 12, 2010 at 2:02 am |
  9. Nursehope

    Children?Sermon? Ok Christians...let's scare the beejebus out of our innocent little offspring for the sake of controlling their minds/behavior. Scare tactics only produce freightened little "rabbits" without knowledge of how our planet/species evolved to become resilient in the face of adversity. Its time (2010 years later) to update your paradigm and empower the youth to become independant thinkers and question EVERYTHING vs accepting heresay (Bible stories) as fact.

    July 11, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • Truth

      Truth doesn't change. So, "we" don't need to update any paradogm. As far as control goes, step into any secular university in America. These "independent thinkers" are so close-minded as to believe in a God, let alone allowing the Judeo-Christian worlview serious thought. The only ones who will be scared are the ones going to Hell for their non-beleif.

      July 11, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.