Recently, a friend shared with me about how he liked having his children join him during the worship time at church. As a huge fan of intergenerational worship, I love to hear parents and grandparents share about worshiping with kids. Research by Parr and Crites emphasizes the importance of intergenerational worship. In their book, Why they Stay, it shares that “Young adults who attended worship services that separated them from their parents when they were children were 38% more likely to have strayed as a young adult than those who were not in separate services.”
Families and churches that are intentional in their approach to intergenerational worship can help kids engage in worship. Below are 3 tips that can assist:
Tip 1: Provide resources for parents to assist in the transition to intergenerational worship. Parenting in the Pew by Robby Castleman is a great resource to assist parents in the journey of helping their kids learn to worship. “Baseball and ballet are taught through participation, practice, and patience. Children learn best by doing . . .Children learn to worship by worshiping – through participation, practice, and patience.” (Castleman). Another resource that is helpful for parents is a bookmark or booklet providing helpful tips for engaging kids in worship. It can be a simple resource created by your church. I love the bookmark above that my friend Jennifer provides for families at FBC Barnesville.
Tip 2: Provide a Bible and worship notes or a church bag for Kids. Make sure each kid in your church has a Bible with the Old and New Testament. Many churches make a special presentation to 1st graders as they begin the school year. Two Bibles I like to recommend are the CSB Kids Bible and the ESV Following Jesus Bible. Worship Notes are also a great resource to provide for the families at your church. You can download free printables from various websites or create your own. I had fun creating one and you can download it for free below. Many churches also provide a worship bag that families can pick up in the foyer at the beginning of the worship service and return at the end. If your church does not provide one, you can create your own. Several great things to include are: your child’s Bible, a clipboard, a journal or worship note sheets, blank paper, chenille stems (pipe cleaners), and crayons/pencils/gel pens (depending on the age of your child).
Tip 3: Encourage parents to intentionally teach their kids how to participate and worship during services. “Children learn that prayer is important when they see their parents make it a priority. Children learn to give generously when their parents do.” (Castleman, Parenting in the Pew) Parents and grandparents can also help kids locate Bible verses/passages and follow along as the scripture is read, using a finger for early readers. Kids can be encouraged to stand, sing, and be involved in worship.
What are some of your tips for Engaging Kids in Intergenerational Worship?