Does your worship service include a small amount of time when the children come forward for a “children’s message?” Have you ever felt like that sermon was better than the one delivered by your pastor? Perhaps your place of worship has a separate service designed for the children? Have you ever attended that service and felt the presence of God more than you did in the “adult” worship service?
Some of the most powerful times of worship I have ever experienced were in children’s worship services -worship services that included loud singing, dancing, offering competitions, and games. YES! I said “games.” A well-planned children’s worship service includes a game or two that encourages social interaction, team spirit, healthy competition, and lesson reinforcement.
From time to time I hear folks decrying children’s worship services with things like, “We miss seeing the children in the service,” or “We should all worship together.” I couldn’t agree more! Let’s all worship together, every generation, in one room with our One God. BUT…let’s do it the way the kids do it! Why do we always want the kids to “grow up” and worship like the adults? Why do we want them to sit still, be quiet, and struggle to stay awake like the adults!?
What would it look like if our regular worship services included a song with motions (i.e. dancing!)? Or a song that involved literally shouting glory to the Lord?
What would happen if we collected the offering in a long tube that lights up when we put our money in it? Or even better, collected it with a vacuum tube name Mr. Suck-it-up-a-Gus? HA!
What if we played a game that helped us ALL to learn a memory verse each month?
What if our sermons lasted no more than 10 minutes and made one memorable point using an object lesson? Think of it!!
What if prayer time included actual silence at the altar on bended knee? You see, kids have no inhibitions about bowing before God at the altar. And they DO know how to be solemn when the Spirit calls for it.
I know what you’re thinking, “This Children’s Coordinator has been dipping in the Kool-aid again!” But let’s look at what Jesus said about this issue in Luke 18:15-17(NLT)
“One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’”
I challenge you to keep your children in the worship service and then…receive the Kingdom of God like a child! If you’re up to the challenge, I would love to hear the results. If I were a betting woman, I would lay money on positive feedback from most of the adults.
Moulton First United Methodist recently accepted this challenge by adding a game to their already multi-generational worship service. Mindy Keenum describes the experience:
We divided into two teams. Each team had balloons of a certain color. The balloons were mixed and scattered across the front of the Church. Each team had to pop their balloons and retrieve a piece of the Scripture word puzzle. Teams then had to take the pieces and connect them in order to form the scripture. The scripture puzzle was our scripture reference for the day's sermon. Needless to say, all ages enjoyed this game.
I can’t wait to hear from the rest of you!