Why Children and Youth Belong in Worship
Dennis Benson, in Children as Partners in the Church (believed to be out of print), tells of a service in which a wonderful act of ministry took place:
While his parents listened to the sermon, a young boy busily colored a picture of Jesus and wrote in crooked letters across the page "Jesus loves you." Despite his mom's embarrassment, the boy insisted upon giving the picture to a man sitting farther along the pew. A few weeks later, the man stopped the boy's mother and remarked that he was so thankful for the boy's gift of the picture. He shared that he had been struggling with his wife's death and that when he received the boy's picture he felt God come into his heart.
A grieving man experiences relief from his pain through the innocent, guileless attention of a child. The youngest among us have a place in the ministry of the Church: not only, however, as the object and recipient of ministry --and of God's love-- but, as we understand here, as the bearer of that ministry --and of God's love! Lavergne, A. [firstname.lastname@example.org]. (1999). God's Children: Welcoming Children to Worship. Lift Up Your Hearts. Retrieved April 5, 2012, from http://www.worship.ca/docs/godkids1.htm.
May We Suggest
- Relax! Children will wiggle, but don’t feel you have to suppress it in God’s house.
- Children learn good behavior in church by copying the behavior of adults and we are all here to help them learn.
- Worship bags are available in the back of the sanctuary for children's use.
- Encourage children to participate in the Time with Children.
- Children will learn the parts of the service through participation in the service. They may need help finding the pages in the hymnal and Bible. But encourage them to join in the responses, singing of the hymns and bowing their heads in prayer.
- Always remember that the way we welcome children in the church directly affects the way they respond to church, God, and Christ. Let them know they are at home in this service of praise, thanksgiving and sacrament.