Engaging kids in worship at church or at home.
Like many churches, you may find yourself in a difficult position this year. Even if your congregation has decided to go back to meeting in the church building, there’s no guarantee all families will feel safe enough to come back. This makes it hard to predict how many children will be in attendance.
But no matter where we are worshiping, something weighing on the minds and hearts of a lot of pastors, children’s ministry leaders and parents is how we can continue to teach our kids about God without creating an even bigger burden than the heavy load already on everyone’s shoulders.
Here are some ideas for how churches can provide support for families with children.
Prepare a curriculum that works in church or at home.
Make sure that whatever you decide to do in church works for families at home as well.
The easiest way to do this is to prepare a small kit for each child with their name on it. If kids are at church on Sunday, they do their kit there! If not, you can ask volunteers to provide drop-off services, create a pickup spot at church or mail the kit to parents. For those with a printer at home, you could even email the materials for parents to print out.
Encourage parents and kids to do it TOGETHER.
With church-in-church, parents are occupied with worship while kids are in children’s church or Sunday school. Even if kids are right next to Mom or Dad in the worship space, it’s not possible to help them read the stories or to
answer their questions about the instructions.
But if families are worshiping at home, there is more flexibility to work together across the generations. Read through the story together and do the puzzles together, share in coloring in the pictures and discuss what you learn along the way! Afterward, kids can keep their bulletins or activity sheets in a folder or binder — their own, handmade Bible storybook to use and reuse!
One thing to keep in mind: Parents may be nervous about engaging with their children on Bible activities. They may worry about what to say if kids ask questions the parents don’t know how to answer. Or what if Mom or Dad doesn’t know the solution to the puzzle to help their child complete the activity sheet? Be sure to include answer sheets or teacher guides along with the activity sheets to give parents complete confidence to teach their children. Answer keys also allow kids to see how they did and fill in any blanks. It’s not about being right or wrong but that, after checking answers, kiddos have the whole story there to reread and learn from.
Welcome the children or speak directly to them at some point during worship.
Speak to your pastor or church leadership about making time to welcome the children.
In some ways this is easier to do in person. When kids walk through the door, the greeters can call them by name, say hello and hand them something just for them. However, it may be beneficial at some time during the worship service to do a short children’s sermon or special greeting for Jesus’ youngest disciples. This can even be done over Zoom or Facebook Live! Kids need to know the pastor sees them, too. A special moment when the pastor is speaking directly to the children will also help parents at home struggling to get everyone settled in front of the online stream.
This all can be done with Children’s Worship Bulletins!
This may sound daunting and like a lot of work, but with Children’s Worship Bulletins, it does not have to be!
We strive to be different from other kids’ bulletins by offering more substantive material. Children’s Worship Bulletins really get kids INTO Scripture rather than just doing activities based on a loosely connected theme or word. For example, we don’t just ask kids to color Joseph’s coat in rainbow stripes. Instead, they do a puzzle or activity that helps them read the STORY of Joseph and his brothers and learn about how God worked through them.
We also provide answer keys for all bulletins as well as story guides to go along with many of them. We give you the right to make UNLIMITED copies so you always have as many as you need. You will not have to purchase multiple books or be worried about breaking copyright laws by photocopying the teacher’s guides — simply download the PDF, print or email, and you’re done.
Start downloading materials at Children’s Worship Bulletins today. We’re here to help so you can continue to place the Holy Scriptures into the hands of the youngest among you!
Heidi Mann is the senior editor of Children’s Worship Bulletins and a freelance editor and writer. Previously, she served as a pastor in the Lutheran Church. She lives in northeastern Minnesota with her family and a herd of cats.