Alllison asked, “How long should a children’s sermon be?” That question parallels “How long should a sermon be?” Neither has a simple answer. In both cases it depends. In the case of children’s sermons…
It depends on how long it takes to achieve your goal.
If you are telling a story or reading a book or even viewing a film clip that will come up in that other sermon, it can go longer.
If you are preparing children to participate in or lead another part of worship, you will hardly know when the children’s sermon ends and the other part of worship begins.
If the children’s sermon is actually reading, acting out or presenting in some other dramatic fashion the day’s scripture, it can be as long as the text requires. In some cases a dramatic scripture reading involving worshipers of all ages takes up part of the other sermon.
If you are doing an object lesson or “message” to the children it must be shorter – 2 to 3 minutes of content time is about the outer limit. (An extra minute or two may need to be added for children to gather and leave.)
It depends on the age of the children and should be one nanosecond shorter than the attention span of the youngest child – especially if you are all on view at the front. That means younger children need shorter sermons than older children do. And, that is part of what makes children’s sermons so daunting.
It depends on what else is going on in worship that day.
If the sermon or scripture presentation of the music is very child-friendly and includes children in leadership, children will not miss a “children’s sermon” at all.
If the children’s time is the only part of worship that recognizes the presence of children, the shorter it is the more children realize that it (and they) are not very important in this gathering.