Remember the story of Eutychus? No? He’s the young man who fell asleep while Paul was preaching (on and on and on). That’s nothing unusual, you say, to fall asleep during a long sermon. True, but, very unusually, Eutychus fell out of the second story window where he was sitting. I’ll let you look it up (Acts 20) and find out what else happened to Eutychus.
A long, long time ago, my brother-in-law, Stan Mitchell, was looking for a way to remind the kids in his congregation that it was important for them to listen to sermons, even if they couldn’t understand everything that was being said. It’s a matter of discipline, you see, training them to develop the habit of listening while that training is easier. He began making available a little handout sheet that he titled “Eutychus and You,” and asked the younger set in his audience to listen enough to write down a few important words, maybe a key point or two, maybe even list the scripture references from the sermon. After the worship service, they could bring their notes to “Mr. Mitchell.” During the afternoon, he would “critique” them (very positively, no doubt), and then attach a piece of chewing gum to the paper, all of which would be returned to the youngster before the evening service.
Maybe it was the treat, or maybe it was the fact that someone said to a child, “You can do something worthwhile here.” Whatever it was, it worked!
Nancy and I picked up on the idea and started using a similar approach in Winfield. It worked there, too! So we introduced the same idea to the Lake Shore folks yesterday, and the response was, shall we say, really sweet! The photo above is of our version of the Eutychus and You handout, but you could make up your own. It’s not copyrighted (sorry Stan), so I’m including a link (click here) so you can download a PDF copy to print. Run it front and back on some bright colored paper, cut the sheets in half, and you’ll be ready to keep some beautiful young people from falling out of the window.