So I did a children’s message this past Sunday. I normally don’t do them in worship. In fact I try to avoid them. This past Sunday for a worship service in the park it made a lot of sense to do it. I think children’s messages have a place in worship services. I think we shouldn’t do them often. I think for many of us we do them because we think if we want to be family friendly we should do them. I think this is a mistake. Doing a children’s message doesn’t make one family friendly. It just can be a neat way to interact with kids in worship. And in a park setting it made a whole lot of sense to share Jesus with them in this way.
I think getting Kids involved in worship is important. I think we have a whole lot of others ways to do that in a regular worship service that are far better. I think we might be missing the point when we think we are family friendly by doing children’s messages. You see I think we need to think about children and families as often as possible throughout the whole service not just a three minute moment of cuteness. So here are some things I think we all should think about in worship to help make it more kid and family friendly. I think their are three things we should do to help kids participate more.
First, repetition in important. It allows kids who can’t read to participate. It could be through liturgy, lords prayer, contemporary worship songs that are simple, etc. repetition allows kids to know the words and participate.
Second we should allow kids who are squirmy to participate. Maybe do a confession that allows them to move around the room. Once I had kids bring a rock to the front of the room and drop it in a sand pit. We were confessing using John chapter 8 as our reference to scripture. Having them move and be involved is important for worship with children.
Third and probably the easiest way to share Jesus with kids in worship is to use pictures and visuals in worship. Stained glass was used to tell the story of Jesus. It still is today. You could use pictures and other visuals on screen or in the bulletin. Visuals give students something to see and focus on with the words. It helps the little ones see Jesus.
Let us all strive to share Jesus with the whole family of faith. Children’s messages can be good, but we have lots of other ways to be family friendly and share Jesus.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14