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Ideas For Supporting Children and Worship
ELCIC Discipleship, 1999

Supporting congregational planners for worship that is welcoming and inclusive for all, especially children


1.   Opportunities for worship planning exist in the following areas:

  • Themes of the day.
  • Lay leadership.
  • Content of prayers and sermons.
  • Use of space, movement, visual arts.
  • Rituals or occasional services.
  • Music selection, accompaniment, and leadership.
  • The time prior to and just after worship.
  • Greetings and announcements.
  • Bulletin layout and content.
  • the people who are involved in the planning.


2.   0–3 years old – creating an atmosphere of acceptance:

  • Space to spread out.
  • Space to walk the baby.
  • Take the baby out when needed without judgment.
  • Encouragement or permission to take the baby out when needed.
  • Friend/sponsor/grandparent assisting parents.


3.   4–12 years old – creating an atmosphere of involvement:

  • Scheduling worship and learning times that are not in conflict.
  • Planning for movement in the service.
  • Getting to know kids by name and greet them.
  • Using examples in prayers and sermons that kids can relate to.
  • Using the gifts of children in worship leadership (e.g., musical instrument – simple melody line, readers, offering parade, poetry, decorating the worship space, dance or drama, etc)
  • Including children on lists of ushers, greeters, etc.
  • Considering seating and sight lines from a child's perspective.
  • Providing paper and crayons for drawing.
  • Bulletin notes or graphics (posture – sitting, standing, kneeling, which book, signals for prayers – hands, singing – eyes and mouth, listening – ears and eyes)
  • Choosing a mix of music that includes songs appealing to children. (see With One Voice list)
  • Encouraging rhythm instruments, shakers, etc when appropriate.
  • Minimizing the performance aspect of children's choirs.
  • Increasing regular involvement of choirs in worship life.

A2

  • Marking significant milestones through prayers or small ritual action.
  • (E.g., beginning of school, achievements in sports or arts, anxiety about exam time, end of the school year, off to camp, graduation or moving up to a new school, getting offering envelopes of their own, getting a Bible of their own, beginning or completion of a service project, etc.)
  • Planning and having enough lay leaders in worship so that everyone can say from time to time, "that leader is someone like me – woman, man, older person, young adult, youth, child, racial minority, differently–abled". Take a look at your membership and include all you can based on the gifts they can offer.


4.   13 and older – creating an atmosphere of acceptance and involvement:

  • Continuing to greet kids by name and asking about their week.
  • Using their gifts in worship leadership.
  • Practicing tolerance of hair color, body piercing, style of dress.
  • Using examples and illustrations in prayers and sermons that kids can.
  • Relating to their daily life.
  • Marking milestones for kids through prayers or ritual action. (getting a drivers license, having braces off, high school graduation, accomplishments in school, sports or arts, first job, starting post-secondary school, any tragic event in the youth community)
  • Being sensitive to self–consciousness and still encouraging participation.
  • Establishing a teen group for choir, band, drama, etc.



    Permission is granted to reproduce this module for use in ELCIC congregations. Any other use requires copyright permission. Please contact bfast@elcic.ca.
In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
© Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada