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Cokesbury

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Children and Worship Service

While churches have different points of view about how to provide children’s worship, nearly all congregations acknowledge that they must do something. Most churches value children’s sense of awe and wonder, their appreciation of visual elements, and their desire to be actively involved in worship. When worship happens in the community of faith, it becomes a celebration of belonging.

Children’s worship comes in many different forms:

  • Children are present in the worship service for the first half, and the pastor or a variety of adults in the church present a special children’s message. The children’s moment may include Bible reading, a message, and prayer. Then the younger children leave the sanctuary to go to the children’s worship service.

  • The pastor provides a special children’s message every week during Sunday school opening exercises.

  • Children of all ages are welcomed to worship with their parents in the sanctuary. Children learn spiritual practices by watching and imitating the adults. A special attempt is made to be aware of all the ages present at worship and enable the children to worship together with the whole community of faith. Some churches provide the children with worship bags or children’s bulletins that o er some activities the children can do while listening to the sermon.

  • Children participate in the worship service on some sort of regular basis throughout the year. Their participation may happen through singing in children’s choir, playing instruments, offering prayers, reading litanies, serving as greeters, or being a part of special programs involving all ages in drama and song. Traditional family services may develop around special Sundays like Advent, Lent, Thanksgiving, or Sundays that focus on specific ministries.
  • Entire services conducted by the children and their leaders are scheduled throughout the church year. These give children the opportunity to participate in every aspect of the worship service.
  • Some churches choose to have the younger children spend the worship hour in a children’s worship service designed specifically for their level of development, with specific consideration given to attention spans. Visual elements are used more than verbal ones, and the children are actively involved. The worship session may contain music videos with movements, life application videos, dramatic plays, games, or exploration, and discovery through play.

Whatever form your church uses for children’s worship, the goal is the same. Children’s worship is not an entertainment time for the children or childcare for the parents. It is worship education and leadership training. Everything should be designed to bring the children to Jesus and acknowledge them as a vital part of God’s kingdom. Just like Jesus, we should love the children and bless them as a part of our community of faith.