Worshiping with Children

Worship can be an excellent opportunity for parents to be involved in the spiritual development of their children. We want children to be engaged in the entire worship process and to sense that they belong to the people of God.

To help our youngest children, we provide extended worship care for babies through kindergarten where children learn about God's love in a way that is age appropriate. It is our desire that our DaySpring children will build significant relationships with other children and adults in the congregation who embody the love of Christ to them through extended worship care.

While the bulk of our teaching time with children is during Sunday school at 9:45, occasionally we host a worship training time during extended worship care for our preschoolers and kindergarteners to help them get ready for the transition to attending the worship service when they are older. Before our first graders officially enter worship and receive their Bibles, we explore together why and how we worship at DaySpring.

It can feel challenging for both parents and the congregation to bring children into worship as the needs of all are so varied. Children need to ask questions and grab a dropped crayon. Senior adults often have a hard time hearing. Youth can be easily distracted. The harried middle adults are seeking peace, calm and quiet. We try to hold all of these things together.

Tips for parents and grandparents on how to help children embrace worship.

  • Allow enough time for bathroom visits and water breaks before the service begins. This helps minimize distractions to others and the opening and closing of the sanctuary doors.

  • Visit the children’s corner before worship to gather supplies to help engage your child in worship. Children’s bulletins, worship folders and books are available.

  • Bring your worship bag given to all first graders filled with wiki sticks and crayons and a sketch pad. Use the worship guide  and the worship folder they received as first graders to help them follow what is happening in the service. Encourage your children to draw their prayers and worship response or something that they learned in Sunday school during the silence and sermon.

  • Sit up near the front of the sanctuary during the service. It will help children feel like a participant and not a spectator.

  • Allow your younger children (kindergarten and younger) to participate in extended worship care where they will play, learn and build relationships with the church community in an age appropriate environment.

  • Our children’s sermons are geared for school aged children. Sit with young and new children during the children’s sermon.

  • Help children find the scripture and hymns beforehand and mark them with bookmarks. Occasionally whisper questions such as “How do you think Jesus looked or sounded when he said this?” or “How would you feel if you had been there when that happened?” If there is a hymn that is meaningful to you, feel free to whisper: “This is your grandmother’s favorite hymn” or “I used to sing this to you when you were a baby.”

  • Encourage children to stand, sing, join in the responsive readings and share an offering. Feel free to whisper to them as you teach them what is happening. Share your own feelings and responses to worship with them.

  • Introduce your children to people sitting nearby.

  • During the discipline of silence remind children to “be with God” – they can pray silently, listen to what God might be saying, or just breathe deep and rest.

  • Children who have been baptized are invited forward for communion. All children (and adults!) are invited forward to receive a blessing on communion Sundays.

  • Talk about worship during the week. Pray together for your church and that God will prepare your hearts for worship on Sunday. Sing hymns during the week that you hear on Sunday mornings.

  • Prepare for Sunday morning by getting things ready (clothes, worship bag, Bibles and offering) the night before so that Sunday mornings are happy mornings.

  • Pay attention to what your child picks up from the service. Ask them what they remember and if God showed them something special in the service.

  • Welcome the help and relationships of the congregation.

  • Keep at it! Formation takes time and energy.

 Tips for the congregation

  • Remember the commitment we have as a congregation to the children in our midst.  Consider volunteering with children on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings to help build relationships with our children and their families.

  • Greet the children around you before and after worship. Make them feel like an important part of the worship service.

  • Hand offering plates to children, not over their heads.

  • Invite a child you know to sit with you in worship on occasion.

  • Make it a goal to learn one child’s name and greet that child by name each time you worship.

  • Have patience with the learning process; sometimes children will be restless.

  • Compliment children and their parents when children have participated and listened attentively.

  • Set an example for our children by refraining from bringing food and drinks into worship and when possible, from exiting the sanctuary during the service.

  • Sit next to families with children and get to know them. Many of our families do not have extended family in town.  Consider building relationships with our young families. Invite a family to join you for lunch after worship.

Our children are an important part of the life of our congregation.  We have so much to learn from them. It takes a lot of effort on parents and the congregation to form our children in the way of Christ day in and day out. This is the commitment we make at baby dedications to be a community of faith that nurtures children and parents in Christ-likeness.

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