Our children stay in Sunday worship for the whole service. Usually they draw, read a book, or do some other activity, but my son (6) will often listen to parts of my sermon. A little over a month ago he gave me some feedback by telling me he likes it better when I use more pictures.
Our sanctuary has a projector system that we use in our contemporary and traditional worship, and generally I have between 4-8 pictures that accompany the sermon. If I’m talking about Aron Rolston (127 Hours) then I’ll show a picture of Aron Rolston. If I’m talking about joy I’ll show a picture of someone smiling and laughing.
Usually the pictures aren’t crucial to the sermon. I figure they are supplemental and atmospheric. Some sermons I just can’t think of ideas, so I just have few or no pictures. But now that my son has told me he likes it when I use pictures, I’m rethinking those Sundays when I go without images. I’ve noticed that my son can recall more clearly the parts of my sermons that had a strong or interesting image associated with it.
I won’t draw any rock-solid conclusions from this anecdote, but I do think that if churches are serious about including children, youth, and young adults in worship then it’s time to take seriously the visual nature of these generations.