As a mom, there are certain people I love to visit with my kids. These are the people who put away their breakables, pull out a puzzle or a few matchbox cars, and open a new jar of creamy peanut butter. These are people who make a point of giving hugs to my kids and showing them where the bathroom is—just in case. These are the people my kids love to visit, too. In their homes, my children feel welcome.
At church, too, my kids (ages 7, 7, and 9) have had the privilege being welcome in worship. And as their mom, I’m thankful for every congregation who makes an effort to affirm that children’s lisping praises are precious to God, their concerns are welcome in his ear, and their souls are often numbered in his kingdom (Ps. 8:2, Matt. 19:13–14).
I make no claim that the following suggestions are an exhaustive list of how to welcome children in local church worship. They are simply four things that have been a blessing to my family. These things also have the advantage of being both simple and applicable across church cultures. They don’t require staff or planning meetings or funds. They simply require us, like our Savior, to pay attention to the young bodies and souls in our midst. Read More
When I was involved in worship planning at St. Michael's, Mandeville, I compiled a list of child-friendly hymns and worship songs--hymns and worship songs with repetitive refrains or lyrics and accessible easy-to-remember tunes--and was intentional in using them in the Sunday services. A number of older children sang in the choir. The words of hymns and worship songs not in the hymnal were printed on a service bulletin insert.
At Hope Church, Waldheim we installed wide screen monitors suspended from the ceiling only to discover that the people who sat at the back of the room, adults as well as children, could not see the monitor screens. As a worship aid for these people and for seniors who were accustomed to singing the words from a hymnal, we printed the words in the service bulletin.