Meaningful Worship Roles for Kids

April 12th, 2013

If you've ever been assigned the job of making sure the acolytes (AKA kids with fire, lighting candles) were scheduled and trained, you've probably had this experience.

You get a bit nervous for the child because they take the job so seriously. And the fire hazard, of course. There are liquid candles that extinguish when they fall over although we haven't tested that yet.

Parents smile proudly and watch, but for most of the congregation, their smiles are more like "isn't that cute?"

There are many ways to involve children in worship. You're probably already getting kids involved with roles like lighting the candles, ringing the bells, and handing out worship bulletins.

But the real challenge is involving them in meaningful ways that don't simply put kids on display for the sake of being cute.

If it is important enough to do, then you need to help educate the kids on the why and how. (And educate the parents who drive them as well. One children's minister has said "you get the parents through the kids" and she didn't apologize.)

Here are six ways to involve kids in worship:

  • How many times have you used a funny, cute video of a kid in worship? Why not video one of your children or teens who has mature faith saying something profound. Kids can teach us alot about faith, we just need to listen.
  • Let children partner with an adult to help gather the offering and to help serve the communion elements. Help them understand the meaning of these rituals.
  • Make sure kids are at your Welcome Center, Information Center, or greeting because the kids of the new visitors will be relieved to see other kids.
  • Let kids sing and play instruments alongside adults. Take their talents seriously.
  • During your stewardship campaign plan for a kids and teen campaign. You need to start talking tithing when they are young, and spiritual gifts.
  • Kids and teens can help with set up, at my church we meet in a gym so that means folding chairs, a worship table, wires and cords for the band.

Think outside the box and beyond what you normally have let kids do. And think about training, since even adults need to know the how's and why's. Don't assume people will know why something is important. Kids can do a lot more than we tend to think they can. If a teen can fulfill the role a mature elementary child can as well.

We say all the time kids are are the future of the church, but if they aren't involved as kids, why would they wait around to be old enough as adults?

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