WHERE DO WE START?
There are a few steps to take before starting a children’s worship service. The first begins with some simple questions:
- Does my church need this?
- Will this help my church reach our community?
- Is this the best and most healthy option for the children of our church?
- Does my pastor support this?
After talking with your pastor and church leaders, the next step is sometimes to take a simple survey of your parents including questions such as the following:
SAMPLE SURVEY QUESTIONS
- Would you be interested in our church creating a children’s worship service for grades (list the grades that you are considering including in your children’s worship service) that would take place during the regular church service?
- How do you think this would or wouldn’t benefit our children?
- Do you think this would help our church reach new families?
The key here is to be brief and to the point. Express the reasons why you are considering a children’s worship service and realize that you will get both positive and negative feedback. See the next chapter for a report to the pastor of a large church following an initial survey like this. You too will receive similar comments.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF A CHILDREN’S WORSHIP SERVICE
Before starting a children’s worship service, take some time to evaluate both the benefits and drawbacks of it. Be honest about the effects that a children’s worship service will bring. In every situation there will be both advantages and disadvantages. Being up-front about these with your pastor and church leaders will help you to fine-tune your program to best meet the overall needs of your church. Below you can see an example of how one church lined these out.
A Children’s Worship Service would:
- Create ways that parents can help without having to do a lot of preparation—something that can be an entry point into the children’s ministry.
- Allow our pastor to freely address PG-13 issues from the pulpit on Sunday mornings without criticism that children are present.
- Help our church to more specifically address the issues and needs that our children are facing in our changing culture.
- Allow us to create multiple opportunities of service for our older children where they could lead and share through drama, puppets, testimonies, etc.
- Allow guests a great convenience that some are specifically looking for in a church.
- A Children’s Worship Service would take children out of Sunday morning worship.
- Children would be worshipping with their families every Sunday.
- Children might not feel as closely connected to our pastor.
- The addition of a children’s worship service will increase the amount that is spent in the children’s ministry. Items will be needed for illustrations, etc.
- Children could still attend the Sunday evening worship service.
- We could have a Family Day once a quarter where the message would be G or PG-rated and on this Sunday our all our children would attend the Sunday morning worship service with their family.
- Children’s worship would be optional. Parents can always choose to their children with them in our worship services. The creation of a children’s worship would give our parents the flexibility of choose what fits their family the best.
- Our pastor could visit our children’s worship service from time to time for a brief time at the beginning so that our kids will feel an even stronger connect with him.
WHAT KIND OF CHILDREN’S WORSHIP DO WE NEED?
Once you get responses, you also may need to adjust the idea of what kind of children’s worship service will best fit your church’s needs. There are several matters to consider here:
THE MATTER OF TIME
- How long will the children’s service last?
- Do we want our children to be in worship until just before the sermon and then dismiss them out to a children’s service or do we want them to begin at the same time as the regular church service?
- Do we want to have children’s worship every week or do we want to have it only during the school year or during certain seasons of the year? Would it be best to have fall and spring semesters where the children then worship with their parents during Christmas time and during the summer.
THE MATTER OF STRUCTURE
Do we want out kids to be in a large group for the entire children’s worship or do we want to have them break out into discussion or activity groups for a certain amount of time with one leader per 8 to 10 kids?
THE MATTER OF STYLE
There are three popular styles for children’s worship services:
The facilitator approach has one main “facilitator” that keeps everything moving. This person can do the entire worship time or can delegate parts out to other people, but either way, this key leader is the one that keeps everything moving forward and on track. This is also the person who usually ties everything together to make all the pieces fit together with the point of the day.
Two large churches exemplify the other styles of children’s worship excellently:
Saddleback Community Church in California uses a Video-driven style of children’s worship. The main teaching, the review and life application is on video. A facilitator leads music and activities between three video segments, which include a lesson, a review, and a life challenge. You can buy these videos at www.empoweringkids.net, a website by Craig Jutila, the former children’s minister from Saddleback.
North Point Church near Atlanta, Georgia, uses a Plot-driven style of children’s worship. They even welcome parents to attend with their kids. They have characters that present a dilemma including a theme, verse and Bible teaching. It’s like a Christian “Saturday Night Live” for families. You can preview this kind of curriculum at www.252basics.com.
Once you decide what kind of children’s worship fits your church best, you will need to communicate with your pastor and church leaders concerning your ideas, the space you will need, the budget you will need and your vision for the ministry. You will also need to communicate the next steps to be taken and a children’s worship launch date. This is also the best time to decide the name and to begin using it.
HOW AND WHAT DO WE COMMUNICATE?
Communicating clearly to all of your families your purpose and desire in beginning a children’s worship service is just as important as communicating to them the dates and times you will be starting it. At the same time let them know that the children’s worship service is optional—For example: We support families worshipping together but are creating a children’s worship for unchurched families who might visit our church with children who aren’t used to being in church as well as for the overall benefit of the children and families inside our church.
Here is a sample:
Coming this fall….Kid’s Church for Kindergarten-2nd Grade
On promotion Sunday our church will be launching a children’s worship service for kids in kindergarten through the 2nd grade. During the fall our kids will be learning about The One Thing that really matters in life, which is their relationship with Jesus. We will be focusing on the Fruit of the Spirit as well as forgiveness and thankfulness. This will launch us into a Treasure Quest during the Christmas holidays. Then in the spring we will be looking at Recipes from the Master (Jesus) and Recipes for Disaster. It’s going to be a great year!
Our purpose for creating a children’s worship:
- To help in reaching unchurched people so that mom and dad whose 1st grader has never been in church don’t have to be distracted and concerned about what people around them might think. Instead they can concentration on what God is saying to them.
- To teach younger children the purpose behind all the elements of a worship service and to prepare them to worship with the church as a whole.
- To teach life-lessons that coordinate with the Sunday School curriculum to further help in the discipleship process of the children of our church.
- To free up additional space for adults in the worship services.
- To maximize the time in which the children this age are at church.
Biblical Foundations for 24:7
Children’s worship will be built around five key elements: We want children to Believe Jesus, Know Jesus, Love Jesus, Obey Jesus, and Share Jesus. Three of these are based on 24:7 verses:
1. We want kids to BELIEVE HIM
-Luke 24:7—…the Son of Man [Jesus] must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
2. We want kids to KNOW HIM
-Jeremiah 24:7—I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God…
3. We want kids to OBEY HIM understanding, as Jesus said, that those who LOVE HIM, obey Him (John 14:21), and that part of obeying Him is to SHARE HIM (Acts 1:8).
-Exodus 24:7—…and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.”
PROMOTING A CHILDREN’S WORSHIP SERVICE
Promote your children’s worship service in every way possible. Use every communication feature your church has—i.e., announcements on Sunday morning, the church bulletin or newsletter, the church website, by email, etc.
Also promote your children’s worship service in the community through every public means possible—i.e., posters, community bulletin boards, flyers, a community mailing, the newspaper, etc.
Below are samples of how others have described their children’s worship services in promotions:
Kids love Kid’s Church. Through fast-paced songs, relevant teaching, funny and true-life stories, powerful illustrations and illusions, children learn Bible stories and key verses and how these apply to their daily lives. They also get to enjoy a snack and we always need a “Spinner” and “Picker” for our “Round the World” (Hey, Hey Mon, Do ya know my Lord?) Mission Moment. And don’t be surprised if a puppet peeks out from time to time!
Children learn best and enjoy themselves more when teaching methods are varied. Sunday mornings present a variety of activities designed to teach Bible truths to build a foundation for following Jesus every day in every way. Caring teachers and workers involve themselves in the lives of children as they minister on each child’s level. During children’s worship children grow closer to the Lord through games, activities, crafts, video features, role-play, and other fun learning experiences. There is no better way for your child to enjoy coming to church than to get them plugged in on Sunday mornings. They’ll love it!
Take everything you love about a church service, drop in a bit of “slime-time,” add about a gallon of Dr. Pepper to it, and you’ve got our Preteen Worship Service that will encourage your kids to become fully devoted followers of Christ. This fast-paced, engaging and fun time will challenge your 4th-6th graders to know the Lord and to make Him known. Preteen Worship also includes a weekly D.I.V.E. time that aims at teaching our preteens how to spend quality time with the Lord each day. The message is also presented using a variety of tools: Through illustrations, illusions, testimonies, competitions, stories and truths straight out of God’s Word, your student will be challenged with a relevant message about living for Christ every day in every way. So much fun…so little time…your kids won’t want to miss it!
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