We’ve had many new families come to our local church for lots of faith formation experiences on weekends and just about every day of the week. Many come from no or other faith traditions. This makes for awkward moments almost every week in worship. We desire to invite them to worship as the next step, but it can be a leap of faith for new families. We want to make it easier. Learning something new together with those we love is always a good and better thing. 

Our leadership has joined Children’s Ministry to provide space for a teaching service for kids with adults in the room in our regular worship space at our traditional 11am service. I’m beside myself in joy and shaking in my boots all at the same time. 

Elements of the teaching service has been to form a family worship team with clear goals, provide a dress rehearsal the Wednesday prior with dinner together, and a teaching through the alphabet to prepare ourselves for worship before the service even begins.

ABCs of Worship
Faith Milestone: I Can Worship With My Family

A –    Arrive early.
Arrive in time to find a good place to sit. Sitting near the front of the Sanctuary will give littles a better view of the chancel (stage front) area.

B –     Bring colored pencils or crayons.
These tools can be used for coloring or taking notes. When our hands are busy, our minds are calm.

C –     Clue in children to what will happen next in the service.
Children who can read will want to go over the Bulletin and find hymns (songs) in the hymnal (song book.) They like to be prepared.

D –     Discuss worship at home.
Discussion ahead of time gives time to ask questions and get answers about worship.

E –     Express joy to have children in worship.
Be sure to welcome the children sitting near you. Include them in your conversations before and after worship to let them know they belong.

F –     Free yourself from worry about children’s behavior.
We are a family and need to hear the sounds of children in our family.

G –    Gonna want to be in church.
Disciples of Jesus gather weekly to celebrate God’s goodness and God’s faithfulness together. You don’t want to miss this!

H –     Have your offering ready.
We will follow the children’s lead to walk forward to give our tithes and offerings at the end of the service. Movement in the service is good for everybody.

I –      Include the babies.
We love babies! A loving nursery is available for families with littles under 4yo if this works best for your family.

J –     Jesus
Jesus came for everybody!

K –    Keep an eye out for guests.
Making space for new friends is the first step of sharing the love of Jesus in an act of hospitality.

L –    Look around the Sanctuary when you arrive.
Give vocabulary to special spaces and places like crosses, pews, choir loft, chancel area, organ, piano, baptismal font, paraments, colors, aisles, narthex, acolytes, and more.

M –    Make a joyful noise.
Sing and do the motions to the music even if you don’t know the songs. Let the children see worship modeled by the best worshippers ever!

N –     Names are important.
Tell the children your name and ask them theirs.

O –    Open your Bible. 
Show children where to find God’s truth. Children learn best to read God’s word by spending time with people who read God’s word from God’s word.

P –     Prepare for Sunday on Saturday.
Church on Sunday starts on Saturday. Lay out your clothes, get your Bible, find your shoes, your keys, and prepare your offering the night before.

Q –    Quarters can make a difference.
We’ve made plans for a noisy offering. Bring your quarters and help us make some noise at the end of the service.

R –     Rejoice in the Lord!
Children learn best how to worship Jesus by spending time with people who worship Jesus. Come and show them how it’s done with great joy and gladness. Show us your smile!

S –     Stay a little longer.
Don’t’ rush off when service is over. Linger a bit to meet three new friends-in-the-Lord. Talk to littles and bigs in the Sanctuary, the stairway, and the parking lot.

T –    Treat children as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Children who choose Jesus as their Savior and Lord are full members of the family of God. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them.”

U –     Understand that everyone learns to worship our great God better together.
Lord, let me always be ready to learn something new to follow You more closely.

V –     Visit the Sanctuary.
Look at all the colors, flowers, decorations, and visual elements which add to the worship experience.

W –    Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle!
Stand, wiggle, and move to the music or whenever you just need to move. This applies to littles AND bigs.

X –     Exit when you feel necessary.
There is no judgment if you or your littles need to step out for a bit, but be sure to come back. Practicing new skills always take grace and time.

Y –     You are your child’s best spiritual leaders.
Be a positive role model of a follower of Jesus everywhere you go with all of your actions, words, facial expressions, and presence.

Z –     Zeal means eagerness, passion, devotion, excitement, inspiration, warmth, enthusiasm.
Bring your zeal for Jesus with you. “My zeal wears me out.” Psalm 119:139a

The Faith Milestone: I Can Worship With My Family will take place on Sunday, October 31 at 11am in our traditional Sanctuary with traditional elements and engage all five senses, led by littles and bigs, and not everything happens on the stage. These ABCs are being shared on social media separately each day with a short version printed on the back of the bulletin prepared with child art.

“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” 1 Corinthians 14:26