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Preparing children for worship
Prepared by Nicole Lu, Director of Children’s Ministry, Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church. Email Nicole at this link.
Unrealistic Expectations of Children in Worship
- To sit for 30+ minutes for message
- To apply message to life
- To truly listen to the message
- To take it seriously
- To participate fully
Realistic Expectations of Children in Worship
- Not a spectator sport – they learn from adults around them
- Participate in as much as they can (standing, singing, collect offering)
- Ask questions and talk
- Move around
- Tune out at different times
Equipping Parents to Worship with Children
- Help parents understand what worship is, how people worship, the purpose of worship, and how they should worship. Worship is not something we do just at church
- Help parents see the value of worshiping with their children
- Help parents set positive examples and have positive attitude about their children attending worship with them.
Guide Parents to…
- Accept the God-given responsibility to nurture their children’s spiritual development.
- Consider it an honor to lead their children in worship
- Maintain regular attendance
- Participate with their children in worship.
- Remember the developmental characteristics of their children.
- Encourage their children to participate as well.
- Pray for and with their children
- Recommended Book: When I Go to Church
Preparing for the Worship Experience…
- Show your love for God during the week.
- Apply Deuteronomy 6:7
- Say “thank you” before meals and throughout the week.
- Include conversations about God in everyday life.
- View attending church as a special family event.
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep on Saturday night.
- Decide on what to wear to church on Saturday night.
- Start Sunday with prayer.
- Plan ahead/Get up early so the family is not rushed.
- Provide a nourishing breakfast.
- Stay calm and pleasant.
- Enjoy travel time as a good opportunity for family time and positive conversation.
- Be on time for worship.
- Take your child to the bathroom and let him/her get a drink of water before going into the service.
- Remove your child from worship service if his/her behavior is very distracting, explain his/her behavior is not acceptable, allow him/her to calm down, and then return to the worship service.
- Provide your child with his/her own Bible.
- Allow you child to take a “Big Church” bag with him/her – a “Big Church” bag is a bag for your child’s Bible and belongings needed for church
- Encourage your child to listen for familiar names and words.
- Provide your child with an offering to place in the offering plate or basket.
- Talk with your child about things he/she will see or experience during the worship service.
Following the Worship Experience
- Comment on your child’s behavior.
- Ask questions related to the songs, sermon, and other things the child experiences.
- Avoid negative comments about the worship service.
- Mention the service in casual conversation throughout the week.
- Answer questions the child has about experiences, words, or actions in the worship service.
Equipping the Congregation to Worship with Children
Guide the Congregation to…
- See worshiping with children as a part of the Body of Christ.
- Value the opportunities to worship with children and invest in the future generation.
- Hold realistic expectations of children in worship.
- Recognize and speak to children in worship.
- Expect children to participate in worship.
- Maintain positive attitude related to children in worship.
- Partner with/mentor parents as they help their children to worship.
- Realize children attending intergenerational worship may have never experienced this style of worship.
- Speak in terms the children can understand.
- Provide positive role models and examples for children.
Equipping Children for Worship
- Talk with the children about what to expect before the worship service.
- Talk about expectations of the children during the service.
- Expect the children to participate.
- Define words that children may not understand.
- Encourage the children to take notes.
- Encourage the children to ask questions.
- Take the children to go to the bathroom and get water before entering the worship service.
- Provide a “Big Church” bag – some churches that have intergenerational services every week provide this bag when new children join the service
- Provide paper for children to take notes.
Equipping the Staff to Include Children in Worship
- Avoid preaching sermons designed only for adults with careers, families, payments, and adult-centered themes.
- Make references to things children experience and can relate to.
- Define the terms children may not understand.
- Explain ordinances such as the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.
- Keep the children’s developmental levels in mind when planning and leading worship.
- Avoid the urge to provide more entertainment than actual worship experience for children.
- Remember children are concrete thinkers.
- Paying attention to children in the worship service.
- Provide first hand experiences for children to participate in.
- Provide children’s worship bulletins designed with pastor’s message for the children to take notes.