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Summary: What the church can learn from Walt Disney-- the value of children.

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The Wonderful World of Children

--What the church of Jesus Christ can learn from Disney

“Dad can I have a glass of water please?” the little boy called...

“No, go to sleep.”

“Dad, I’m thirsty, can I have a glass of water please?”

“NO, go to sleep.”

“Daaaad, I’m really thirsty. Can you get me a glass of water please?”

“No, and if you ask once more I’ll spank you”

(Silence)

“Dad, when you come into spank me can you bring a glass of water please?”

Ps 127:3 “Children are a gift from the Lord”---even though, at times, they can be exasperating, annoying, even irritating. They are a still a gift.

My family and I recently visited Disney World-- our first experience. Now, we know that Disney World is not the epitome of Christian values, but I couldn’t help but find lessons during our time there...lessons that can help challenge the church in its mission to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ...

Today, I want to focus only on one major principal...a principal that was part of the earliest core mission of Walt Disney himself...

Walt’s dream was to create an unforgettable experience for children…a place where kids could be with their parents/grandparents and be totally amazed. Not just amused, but amazed. Where Children mattered. They were valued.

1. Children Matter…They are central to the mission…

Walt Disney wrote "Both my study of Scripture and my career in entertaining children have taught me to cherish them."

2. Disney built its empire around how to entertain children. Kids Love Disney World. They talk about it for weeks afterwards. It seems to be a safe place to have fun. It brings the families together, even for a short while.

--on the other hand, I’ve heard it for years, especially from pre-teen or middle school aged kids…Church is boring. There’s not much there for me. Yawn.

--Today we have incredible Sunday school and VBS materials…songs, skits, crafts, lessons. It is much harder today for kids to say that, but if you grew up in church you might identify somewhat with the “church is boring’ sentiment.

--it was for me when I was a youth…get dressed up on church day in an uncomfortable polyester suit…and go to Bible class and maybe color a page, and hear a mission story, and listen to reading from a King James bible, which I didn’t quite understand. Then we’d go into big people church and were supposed to sit still and quiet for an hour with no talking or fidgeting. That was tough…for some kids, that’s a weekly arm wrestle, maybe a full nelson. I’ve seen parents take their children out of the sanctuary kicking and screaming...but this is all part of teaching children to be quiet, respectful, and devoted...

ILLUS: People from a popular Children’s Ministry group gathered dozens of children for a focus group. They gave them a big sheet of white paper, magic markers of every color, and snacks…"If you could create your dream church the best church ever what would that be like?"

1. “Kids would have their very own church building, with many different playrooms. And cakes would be baking! There would be big trees outside to play in and on." Brittney G., age 7


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