This article is part of the Family Faith Formation Toolkit - a collection of resources for equipping ministry leaders, parents, and caregivers with family faith practices and resources, brought to you by Faith Formation Ministries.
In the following links you’ll find creative resources and practices for worship to use both in community and at home. These ideas can be seamlessly woven into existing church programs and into family life.
Worship: In Community
“Corporate praise and worship of God is the one act of faith formation the entire local faith community does together––so to exclude any generation from that in any way is excluding them from one of the most important formative activities the church does.”
As God’s big family, we can support each other by welcoming our children and teens and young adults to worship and by worshiping in a way that says to all ages, “You belong here.” (That assurance of belonging can be particularly important for children whose parents don’t attend church. The post Practical Ways to Embrace Kids Who Come Alone contains helpful ideas.)
If you are involved in planning and leading worship, look for ways to ensure all ages are included and are able to participate in meaningful ways. Visit the Worshiping Together section of the Intergenerational Church toolkit for an abundance of ideas.
A “pray-ground” is an area in the sanctuary that has been created with the worship experience of young children in mind. Read Church “Pray-grounds”: Eight Stories and Inspiring Examples #kidmin to learn more about this concept and what it looks like in a variety of contexts. For a different take on this idea, check out Teach Them to Your Children . . .
Worship: At Home
Quote from Rebecca Kirkpatrick’s blog: “We tend to think of the most sacred places in our sanctuaries as behind the pulpit, table, and font, or even beneath the cross, but the pew is just as holy. The space between us and among us in the pew is sacred as well.”
In The Van Trip Home Carolyn Brown says the post-worship ride home “can be ‘the cherry on the sundae’ or can undo every good thing that happened during worship.” Help parents make the most of that time with her three tips.
Depending on when your children’s ministry occurs, there may come a time when the children in your congregation are attending the full worship and/or the sermon for the first time. Equip their families with the information in Helping Parents Bring their Children to the Sanctuary for the First Time and A Letter to Parents Whose Children Are Staying for the Sermon for the First Time.
Worshiping with kids can be hard work. The letter Dear Parents: Thank You for Bringing Your Children to Worship (which could be shared with the entire congregation) encourages parents to keep at it; so does Loud Whispers—Worshiping with Children.
“In addition to the blessings your children bring to us as God’s family when we worship together, you’re training your child to do the one thing we get to do forever: worship” (Robbie Castleman, Parenting in the Pew). Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship provides practical encouragement for families. We recommend blessing every family in your congregation with a copy. (Yes, it’s really that good.)
If you’re part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America and you have questions about how to equip ministry leaders, parents, and caregivers with family faith practices and resources, one of Faith Formation Ministries’ Regional Catalyzers would love to talk with you about ideas and strategies.