When you bring up the subject of including kids in worship, do parents in your church say any of the following?
"My child can\’t go to Big Church because:
- He\’ll wiggle too much.
- He\’ll get bored.
- He won\’t understand what the pastor is saying.
- He\’ll ask too many questions.
- I\’m afraid he can\’t make it without "having to go."
If they have, then this blog’s for you (and them)! Teaching a child to participate in worship can be a daunting task, but never give up. There is hope!
An important note from the start: kids are going to be kids. They\’re active. They\’re curious. Their theme verse is not: "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10) Today’s kids live their lives constantly on the go, so why would we expect them to sit still in church for an hour?
Even if a child wiggles during the service, he’s catching a lot more than we think. If his hands are busy, his mind can concentrate. And, chances are, his wiggles are a lot more disruptive to his parents than they are to those around them.
You can help transform these trying times for parents into some of their sweetest memories as they lead their child to worship.
Before the Big Day:
- Schedule a field trip to the worship center when it’s not in use. Let the kids explore, touch, and ask questions. This will give you time to answer in an unhurried manner and alleviate much of the questioning during the service.
- Introduce persons who play key roles in the service – the pastor, worship leader, and musicians.
- Provide a "church only" bag as a gift to the kids who will be transitioning into Big Church. Pack it with items such as chenille stems, sticker, paper and crayons to keep busy hands occupied. To keep it special, encourage parents to keep it well stocked and set it aside for church use only.
- A great book to recommend to parents is "When I Go to Church" by Kay Henry. It’s filled with ideas to make this a special time for families.
Tips to share with parents:
- Prepare for Sunday on Saturday! Get kids to bed early, choose clothes, and have everything ready at the door (including shoes)!
- Prior to the service, make sure your child makes a restroom stop and gets a drink from the water fountain.
- Encourage kids to participate in the service – stand to sing, greet others, and pass the offering plate.
- Ask your child to draw a picture of his favorite part of the service.
- Choose a "listening word" prior to the service. Ask your child to make a mark on his paper whenever he hears it in the sermon. If your pastor publishes a sermon title or scripture passage, use that information to determine your word.
- After the service, ask your child what he heard. Share with him what you learned.
- If he drew a picture, ask him to tell you about it.
- Ask if he has any questions. Take each question seriously, but give short and simple answers.
Finally, help parents relax! Remind them that the time they are giving now to teach their child to worship is an investment that lasts a lifetime! It’s worth it!
How do you help kids and parents take this big step in your church? I\’d love to hear your ideas!