Sunday morning is still king. Why?
1. It’s the day and time historically celebrated as a local church honoring Jesus rising from the dead on a Sunday morning. The resurrection of Jesus is the very basis for our Christian faith.
2. It’s the day and time for critical mass of the Body of Christ.
Though other times and days of the week are growing in popularity to fit the rhythms of the families of my communities, Sundays are still ‘game day.’
So what does our Sunday morning look like?
8:30am – Set up
We share all of our spaces with weekday preschool and/or recreation ministry meaning staging takes place on Thursdays, but full setup for Sunday am happens on Sunday am.
9am – Welcome Center opens
We begin receiving children K5-5th grade in one area with shared table games and building toys, understanding that kids will chat while their hands are busy setting the table for time with church friends. The goal is to receive children early as their parents need to arrive at their areas of service before services at 9:30am unhurried and relaxed AND to build in time for ‘hanging out with my church friends.’
9:30am – Large group
Welcome, Announcements, one song, one game, one locating and reading of scripture passage as they yell out the next word they find with their reading finger as I read from my red Bible (if it’s red, Jesus said), short story video from Pursue God Kids, follow-up questions to share in their age group (begins the transition from large group to small), repeat after me closing prayers, then dismissed to small group classrooms.
9:45am – Small group
For a consistent number of littles in each class we group kids K5 (our college intern leads this group every single week alongside a parent volunteer for relationship consistency), 1st grade (a leader who has looped up from K5 with them with a high school intern), 2nd & 3rd (two art teachers trade one month on/off and provide a worship art response which aligns with the lesson), 4th & 5th (led by two adult leads one month/off with an apologetic – defending your faith – lens with each lesson). The apologetics lens is the basis for choosing Pursue God Kids and all of our curriculum choices. Pursue God Kids is only $35/month no matter the church size and includes a fabulous library of Godly parenting resources from a biblical worldview.
10:30am – 10:45am Small groups return to Welcome Center awaiting pickup
This is a level of hospitality of making the drop off and picking up a smooth, with-friends transition. A bucket of fruit snacks and fruit bars is set nearby for kids to self-serve a snack and ice water is always available in a dispenser with paper cups. Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park restaurant trains his staff in unreasonable hospitality. He writes, “Design the beginning and end of your time for the feeling of ‘this is where I belong.'”
We gather together for a worship service at 11am so only the nursery is available for 4 year olds and younger. Though the service looks no different than the 9:30am service in a traditional setting, I’m permitted to incorporate movement with a children’s moment, sign language the Apostle’s Creed and Gloria Patre to offer interactive and teaching elements along the side aisle, and clipboards with Alphabots and reading games to align with the service or teach the worship service elements.
Other regular welcoming and teaching opportunities:
* K2 CLUB – K5 thru 2nd graders with a big who loves them on the 3rd Sunday of each month 4-5pm on holy habits.
* CLUB345 – 3rd thru 5th graders on the 3rd Sunday of each month 3:45-5:30pm with an annual theme of The 10 Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, or The Apostle’s Creed
* Tuesday night Kid’s Bible Study – we align with an adult Bible study 6:30-7:30pm with pizza dinner and developmentally appropriate study of God’s Word from an apologetics standpoint. We’re starting a 4-week Advent study tonight. Parents are studying “The Case for Christmas”. The kids are studying “Songs of the Christmas Story”.
Additional holy habit teaching and intentional discipleship come through Faith Milestones. I’ll be co-leading a Faith Milestone workshop with the fabulous Brooke Barksdale on Wednesday of this week at Marietta First UMC in Marietta, Georgia. If you’re local, we’d love to have you. If you’re not local, we’ll be uploading files of the workshop in the Facebook Group: Faith Experiences for Kids and Families later this week.
What does your Sunday morning look like?
“We need kids in our churches not because that means the church is growing or at the very least not dying; we need kids in our churches to show us what it looks like to have faith in God.” Shaun Stevenson, “Redefining The Kidmin Wins: How to Face Discouragement”, p. 134