Worshiping with children

Kids Friendly Worship

A Kids Friendly chPractical and possible-page-001urch is intent on involving children in worship. Whether the worship occurs within corporate Sunday worship, in separate children’s activities, during the week or even outside the church buildings, intentional inclusion of all ages will allow children to feel they belong and have something to contribute and grow in faith.

The PCANZ Directory for Worship recognises that children bring special gifts to worship and grow in their faith through their regular inclusion and participation in the worship of the congregation. It states:

Those responsible for planning and leading the participation of children in worship should consider the children’s level of understanding and ability to respond, and should avoid both excessive formality and condescension. The Session/Parish Council and minister should ensure that regular programmes of the church do not prevent children’s full participation with the whole congregation in worship, in Word and Sacrament, on the Lord’s Day. Christian education should facilitate participation in worship. (ch 3.1.4)

Our Kids Friendly Worship resource includes:

a.  Worshiping with children:

  • Ideas for involving and valuing children in Church
  • Stories from our churches
  • Recommended resources for worshipping with children
  • Questionnaires/reviews

b. Kids Friendly Ministers:

  • What makes a minister Kids Friendly?
  • Stories from our churches

c. Kids Friendly Sacraments

Baptism

  • PCANZ Worship directory
  • Resources for a Kids Friendly baptism
  • Some ideas for including children and families
  • Helping families remember the event
  • Stories from our churches

Communion:

  • PCANZ Worship directory
  • How do we make children feel welcome at the table?
  • What children can understand about Communion
  • Some ideas for teaching children about Communion
  • Stories from our churches

The nurture of children in church is much more than Christian education.  Children learn by watching and imitating adults and by projecting themselves into imaginary worlds.  Clergy and worship committees must give serious thought to making the Sunday worship truly accessible to children and educating parents and other parishioners to see children as fellow-worshippers, not as intruders who have to be hushed or distracted so that adults are left free to pray!”  Gretchen Pritchard-Wolff, “Offering the Gospel to Children”

Download our Kids Friendly Worship resource here.

Welcome the children

I love and highly recommend this article I read recently in an Australian publication “Equip”.  The minister writer talks about faith as a “culture” that children absorb when worshipping in community.  Her church decided that children needed to be alongside adult Christian practitioners as much as possible, building intergenerational relationships that can ignite their faith.  To truly welcome children she suggests we need to “interrogate” our worship services.  She says:  “We weren’t interested in dumbing things down.  We were interested in finding ways to add movement and symbolic actions that would be interesting to children.”  Read more….

Worship Etiquette

Author CaWorship-Auditoriumrolyn Brown (“Forbid Them Not”) offers some common sense advice on how to make worship welcoming of all ages. Her blog Worshiping with Children shares best practices, lectionary ideas, and wisdom. Before her “retirement” she worked in children’s ministries within the Presbyterian church.

When God’s people gather for worship we include a wide variety of individuals who share a basic and deep need to be there.  We all need to feel loved and wanted and accepted as one of God’s children.  We need to hear God’s Word proclaimed and to pray and sing with others.  But, we also have some very different needs.

Read more….