There are Sundays when we’re short leadership or when we know our attendance will be low. Examples of such days vary from national holidays to those odd Sundays that happen a day after Christmas. Long story short there are days we need to invite the elementary kids into the service. Therefore, we need to create a service that is kid friendly without compromising the distinctive flow of the adult service. Mixed generational services are a challenge however, here are some tips that we have utilized to construct our generational services.
Greeters// On days where the children come in it is beneficial to enlist greeters with friendly faces, primarily the children ministry’s volunteers and pastors. As the children enter greet the kids directly and at their level. This will let them feel a part of the environment and are welcome. Recruit fellow children to greet the families too!
Shorter Service// Children can only sit still for a limited amount of time before they become a handful. To fight this we made a choice to shorten our services without compromising integrity. Out typical services are 65 minutes, during the Sundays we invite children in we shorten them to 15 minutes; translating to a more streamlined sermon and one less song on the playlist.
Song Selection// Our children’s ministries sing many of the same songs that the adults do. So song selection is simplified because the music in the adult service is not foreign but familiar to the children. If your children’s ministry is not set-up like that then I encourage your worship leader to select songs that are easy to learn and sing.
Sound Bites For Kids// When the pastor gives their sermon, coach them to use examples and thoughts that children can engage with. Sharing simply stated sound bites not only helps kids understand complex thoughts or ideas but adults too. This does not mean to “water-down” or write a children’s sermon; but creating a language to keep all generations engaged.
Individual Response// In every kid friendly service we find ways for the congregation to participate in a response. For instance, taking communion or a response where the congregation writes/draws/share their reactions from the sermon. The point is to give the Spirit a time to speak to the congregation.
Next Steps// With parents present it is a prime opportunity to encourage families to continue the faith conversation at home. Giving people measurable challenges to help instill faith the rest of the week will be benefit the whole church; especially the families.
The heart behind this post is to encourage different generations to come together and worship. My visions is not to create a kid service that parents join in or an adult service that children join in; the vision is to create a service for all of God’s people to worship together – young and old.