This post is part of the Welcoming Children to the Lord's Supper Toolkit - a collection of resources for equipping ministry leaders, parents, and caregivers to nurture the faith of children and engage the sacrament together.
Your church can enhance the participation of children/young teens during the Lord’s Supper by
- Including familiar songs with simple language and/or repeated phrases.
- Encouraging families with young children to sit near the front of the sanctuary for an unobstructed view of the communion table and the distribution of the elements.
- Encouraging people of all ages to come forward when it’s time to receive the sacrament (if coming forward is your practice), and offering a blessing to those who aren’t yet participating. If it’s helpful, invite those who are there to receive a blessing to indicate such by folding their hands or holding them in front with palms up.
- Using simple, under-standable language for blessings when personally offering the elements: “God loves you, [name of child]” or “Jesus came for you too, [name of child].”
- Using child-friendly language to explain what is happening during the time of confession and assurance, and offering everyone a quiet moment during which they can tell God about the things for which they are sorry and ask for forgiveness.
- Using simple language and concrete examples rather than abstract metaphors when presenting children’s messages. Visit the Worship Resources section of the Welcoming Children to the Lord's Supper toolkit for ideas for children’s messages.
- Equipping parents and caregivers to have conversations with their children about the “why” and the “how” of communion. Visit the Family Resources section of the Welcoming Children to the Lord's Supper toolkit.
- Including simple, repeated phrases or words in responsive readings during the Lord’s Supper so early readers can follow along and participate.
- Offering a class on the sacraments that families can attend together. Visit the Educational Resources section of the Welcoming Children to the Lord's Supper toolkit for resources that other congregations are using with families.
- Including children in some way in the preparation and/or distribution of the elements. Visit the Worship Resources section of the Welcoming Children to the Lord's Supper toolkit for ideas on how to do this.
- Paying attention to visuals. Children (and adults!) are very aware of their surroundings. Consider how you might visually add meaning to the celebration of the Lord's Supper using special banners, items on the communion table, coloring pages for kids, and more.