"Worship is more than songs and sermons, more than prayers and pews. Worship is how we become whole - that messy and miraculous moment when we are knit together into the Body of Christ. If any are excluded because they are too loud, too dirty, too wiggly, or too weak, we all suffer. Worship is not about our own comfort, it is not about our own experience - be it beautiful or broken - it is about God." from Pastor Karen Ware Jackson's website.
Children in Worship:
One pager on practical tips of intentional engagement of children in worship from Pastor Janelle Hooper.
ELCA Worship Formation and Liturgical Resource entitled: How do we involve children in worship?
Wondering about Wondering?? - Read this short article by DWELL to better understand the IMPORTANCE of wondering.
Pew Cards: 4 Approaches to Communicating "Children are Welcome in Worship"
Presbyterian Pastor Traci Smith offers resources on Etsy, including what could be of help in a pew box for kids.
Ten Ways for Families to Engage Children in Worship - a two page toolkit from the Reformed church
An example of a Children's Bulletin (Family Worship Guide) this one by Rev. Ware Jackson
Including Children in Worship: A Planning Guide for Congregations by Elizabeth J. Sandell Gives a brief theological argument for children in worship, provides practical arguments, gives a detailed 4 week Adult Forum class on discussing the need for children in worship and even rebuttal statements for adult excuses.
**A Must Read!
Incorporating Children in Worship: Mark of the Kingdom - by Michelle A Clifton-Soderstrom and David D. Bjorlin This well researched books provides all the key background info for why children in worship is essential to ushering in the kin-dom of God.
A little education about worship goes a long way as explained by Gregory Rawn from Spirit and Truth Publishing.
Say Hello - by Jack and Michael Foreman. Great for a children's sermon, encourage the whole congregation to consider again how universal it can feel to be left out and how simple it is to intentionally welcome. A spare, poignant picture book reminding us that when someone looks lonely and in need of a friend, one little word can help.
Here's are two great brochures:
(one) (two) from an Episcopal church explaining age stages and tips for having kids in worship. Also a lovely encouragement for communion as early as the child can take it.
Example of a Weekly Family Devotion Guide.
Christ the King Lutheran Church, Nashua, NH - *hands-on/manipulatives,
*kids tables and circle rugs -
*felt Advent Wreath kits
*felt Nativity kits (DIY).
What other bits might you include? We have had two small wood trains - but those were fought over. Also have had these amazing foam blocks that look like wood (2 sets) and we just took those out to take a breather - will come back in likely in Epiphany.
*during the sermon invite kids to a Creation Station. The station is equipped with craft supplies and the children create based on the children's sermon and then bring their creations up during the offering as their offering to God.
*Play dough,pocket or finger labyrinth, etch-a-sketch, or aqua doodle mats, play communion sets, use things from nature on their tables: pine cones, big shells, bark, smooth pebbles, feathers, dried or fresh flowers to touch and take apart
*some form of communal liturgical art piece - something like a link banner like this
*GenOn's survey on the necessity for intergenerational churches. They believe that this kind of ministry is critical to healthy, thriving churches.
GenOn believes intergenerational churches are so necessary they have created a Visioning Tool for Intergenerational Ministry-This easy-to-use tool helps churches take a picture of current ministries and their inclusion of multiple ages, and create a plan to move toward being an intergenerational church.
*7 Keys to becoming Intergenerational by John Roberto
Worship Arts Drama 1
7 intergenerational dramas for use in worship. Plays can be led by children, youth, adults, or any combination of ages. Resource is downloadable and includes Best Practices of presenting dramas in worship and a Scripture index.
Music That Makes Community - YouTube examples of songs that don't require sheet music, thus are good for intergenerational worship.
ChurchNext video course on Involving Children in Worship - Children are not the future of the church; they are the present of the church. And they bring unique and inspiring gifts to faith communities that need to be acknowledged and cultivated. Angela Nelson knows all about this. She's an ordained minister and expert in children's ministry. In this class, she offers four video presentations: Partnership, Teaching Liturgy, The Awe of Pageants and Youth Sundays. This course is ideal for those looking to grow and mature their entire congregation.
Intergenerational Worship Like Thanksgiving Dinner-At First Presbyterian the church has made strides toward intergenerational worship. They’ve boosted the participation of all ages at the Sunday service, launched a weeklong children’s camp on worship, started a church-band mentoring program, published a pew booklet on worship and held a churchwide worship workshop.
*For sure read about the Church-Band Mentoring Program; “You have to build a farm team, not leave it to chance that young people will be an active part of the church community,” Tornborg said. “If you want to get youth involved in Sunday morning worship, make them stakeholders.”
7 Pro Tips for Children's Messages
- A two pager written by Pastor Janelle Rozek Hooper. Worth a look!
- A two pager written by Pastor Janelle Rozek Hooper. Worth a look!
Storypath - A website that connects children's literature with our stories of faith by providing concise but detailed book reviews. Extra bonus...it aligns with the lectionary and comes out WEEKS ahead of time so you can be sure to get the book from the library or buy it BEFORE you need it.
Heavenly Sunshine: Worship for Kids- A thirty minute service meant for children to be able to move around as they worship.
Kidsermon.com - Author Ruth Gilmore indexes and references her several paperback books (Scolding Snakes, Barefoot in the Snow, Saving the Ants, and Sitting on the Rainbow) full of children's sermons.
Feasting on the Word - "Pastors: Joining the Feast" curriculum is the first I've seen that offers suggestions on how to share the message for different ages of youth. It also includes a brief children's sermon as well as children's bulletin.
Worshiping with Children blog - Including children in the congregation's worship, using the Revised Common Lectionary.
Dollar Store Kids Sermons - Find ideas using dollar store items or as springboard for your creativity.
Basics of Children's Chapel By Sarah Allred for Building Faith
As an ELEA member you have access to "O Come Let Us Worship," a well thought out chapel resource. (Also available for purchase to non-members.)
Consider "Flat Jesus", Mary Magdalene or other Biblical characters to journey with you as the Biblical story is told around your sacred space, ALL YEAR ROUND!
Church Publishing Inc. - the Episcopal church offers Celebrate for children's chapel QUARTERLY. The philosophy of Celebrate encourages active participation. For example: Children do not want to be “consumers” of liturgy, but co-creators. An example can be found here.
Children and Communion: A two page resource from the Reformed Church.
Sign Language - Consider teaching the Lord's Prayer to young people who can than lead it in worship every week. You'll be surprised how it welcomes people of all ages and abilities into worship as well as sets the tone of welcome to anyone with special needs.
Have a takeaway: It can be a physical take away or a reoccurring sticky theme..but you need to craft the children's sermon with the end in mind. Not everything has to be an object lesson but make your focus repetitive enough that what they learn sticks with them. Follow Pastor Melissa Florer-Bixler on her blog New Bread with concrete takeaways for intergenerational worship.
American Sign Language practice website.