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Pastor’s science lessons help kids learn Scripture Fred Koenig, Jan 12, 2012
For two decades, author and United Methodist pastor Heno Head has used science talks to help children relate to Scripture.
By Fred Koenig Special Contributor
When Heno Head started serving as a supply pastor at the Carterville, Oronogo and Union Chapel United Methodist churches in Jasper County, Mo., there was something about the usual children’s time routine that didn’t work for him.
“It occurred to me that this was ‘children’s time,’ and it didn’t have to be ‘children’s sermon.’ A sermon is not something a child wants right on top of another sermon,” he said.
He then turned to his other knowledge base—science. Mr. Head’s profession was teaching middle-school science. So rather than talking through a children’s sermon, he gave object-based science talks, and tied them back to Scripture.
“It was the first time I had ever done a science demonstration outside of class,” he said.
That was about 20 years ago. Mr. Head went on to serve as supply pastor in about a dozen different UM churches in the area, and he made the science-based talks for children a regular part of worship.
“I noticed that they really held the interest and attention of the adults as well,” he said.
After several years of preparing these talks, Mr. Head had been through a lot of work, had developed a lot of material, and was interested in sharing. So he sent his manuscripts to several publishers.
“My replies ranged from no reply at all, to thanks but no thanks,” Mr. Head said.
Persistence paid off, though.
When he was down to the last publisher that he was going to try, he got a yes, and they wanted to publish not just one book of his science talks, but two. After four of the small books, Mr. Head published a larger book—with 104 science talks in it, or two years’ worth of Sundays.
This past summer, Standard Publishing issued another book, Super Fun Science: Multisensory Object Talks from the Psalms, focusing on science experiments with ordinary household items. In this book the object lessons relate to the book of Psalms.
The Rev. Sandra Nenadal, Southwest District Superintendent, finds the books helpful. “I’ve often used his books when I was doing a message for children,” she said.
In addition to the object lesson books, Mr. Head has also published several illustrated children’s books, which also explain basic scientific concepts.
As for his name, if you’re assuming Mr. Head is henotheistic, you’re reading way too much into it. Heno is the shortened nickname for Henry O. Head. And Heno isn’t the first, his father was also called Heno.
Mr. Head often takes his show on the road, doing object lessons at camps, vacation Bible schools and churches. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Koenig is editor of the Missouri Conference Review, where this story first appeared.