Recently my husband and I had dinner with our daughter and son-in-law. They made a special dinner and had the table set with the “fancy” tableware. But there was one hitch to this elegant dinner—four children were included, too; our grandchildren, ages 1-to 5-years-old. Let’s just say that the children put a distinctive twist on the ambiance of the meal. Even with all the challenges and distractions, we were glad they were there. Though their parents have employed a type of system for mealtime that minimizes the mess and helps both children and adults, it was a joyful mess!
In a series of posts last year, we highlighted the benefits for welcoming children into the corporate worship service. But like inviting a group of young children to a fine dining experience, there are challenges and some adjustments need to be made. This should be a loving, cooperative strategy involving both parents and church. Often parents just need some practical help and resources. Sometimes the church needs to make a few adjustments and give the whole church community a vision for welcoming children. Below are some resources we believe will be helpful to both parents and churches, as well as the children:
For the Church “Let the Children Come to Me in Worship” In this video, pastor David Michael lays out a biblical vision and philosophy for encouraging children to be in the corporate worship service.
For Parents “Strategies for Engaging Children in the Worship Service” In this audio file, longtime Sunday school teacher and curriculum writer Sally Michael gives very practical advice for parents. 8 Tips for Helping Your Child Worship (free printable brochure)
For Children My Church Notebook, Volumes 1 and 2 are designed to guide first- through sixth-grade students to participate in the service. It teaches them to actively listen to the sermon, take notes, recognize key points, ask questions, and discover more about God and His ways. Students are provided with seven prompts or questions to answer and are given additional space for further notes or drawings. The just-released My Church Notebook, Volume 2 includes updated illustrations and borders featuring themes relating to the life of Jesus and His parables, reminding children that Jesus is our great Savior and Lord. With God’s help, children in the worship service can discover who He is, understand more of His Word, and grow in their love for the truth.