Recently, my 4-year-old daughter asked to join my wife and I during worship hour in “big church.” That’s what we call it anyway. It was a new experience for all of us. She loved the music, but was bored just a few minutes into the sermon. It’s great to worship as a family, but how can she best experience a service not designed for her age group? Here a few ideas to keep kids involved at your church while worshiping together as a family.
1. Shape the service with families in mind.
Remember that all ages are likely represented during worship time at your church, even if you have other options available. Intentionally address each age group during the sermon. Prepare a special mini-sermon just for them or just a few sentences spread out within the sermon devoted to them. If children matter to you, you will matter to them.
2. Provide hands-on materials related to the sermon.
Provide a handout with a coloring page, activities, or both. Don’t forget to include the pastor’s sermon notes. You could even provide a small object to help them remember the sermon.
3. Make the sermon interactive.
Kids have a hard time sitting still, so give them something to do. Before the sermon starts, challenge them to count the number of times a specific word is used during the sermon, to fill in the blanks in the sermon notes, answer questions from the sermon, or draw a picture of something the pastor talks about. If you really want to make it fun, have a prize at the end of the sermon for those who complete the challenge.
4. Recommend some apps parents might use.
More and more kids are using electronic devices during church services. Why not direct them toward apps that will help them with Bible knowledge or maybe even relate to the sermon? Bible coloring pages, puzzles, memory games, and other activities are available. Play a few, and suggest the ones you like.
Opportunities to worship as a family shouldn’t be difficult. They should be a time to grow closer to God and each other as families learn to walk their faith journey together.
Dathan Hale serves as a content editor for Lifeway Kids Ministry. Dathan has more than a decade of experience as a children’s pastor and is currently on the Kids Ministry Team at Thompson Station Church, Thompson Station, TN. Dathan and his wife Sarah have two kids.