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What a great perspective. Thanks for this article. I, too, am very sensitive to the inclusion or exclusion of children in our worship services. There is so much potential. I am going to try harder to be vocal about the times when I see the church "at it's best" this way, and hope for more positive change to come.
One small change I've seen make a big difference, is the choice of songs prior to the children leaving. Including a few children's songs, or hymns with simpler words, allows children to participate instead of standing idly by, bored and/or confused. Also, for children who can't read, having appropriate images on the PowerPoint screen with the words still allows them to worship with us through visual means. Having the singing team demonstrate actions or interpretive dance helps them participate as well. I have been so blessed watching children worship with their hands and faces even when they don't know the words and can't read them. I believe this is how God is pleased in worship as well. Let's encourage more of this!!

Hi Jolanda,
In my limited experience of "visual worship", the pictures on the PowerPoint have been scenes of nature depicting God's glory, like beautiful mountains or trees in fall, or flowers, or people's faces, babies, etc. I think as long as the picture isn't so funny or strange to be distracting, and not so flashy as to be overwhelming, anything can work. In a song about God's love, there are numerous images that come to mind, like people hugging, an adult hand holding a baby hand, a heart, etc. That is very general, I know, but in my opinion it's ok to keep it simple, and most songs have very general themes anyways. To find pictures, one idea is to do a search in Google, then click on "images" so it only searches pictures that are related to the word or phrase you are searching. Another way to make it more personal, if you have people willing to volunteer, is to ask congregation members to submit photos to be used. Imagine how included a child would feel to see a picture of themself up on the screen at an appropriate time. As in all things, as long as this is done well, with respect and good taste, it can be effective. As this could very easily be a time-consuming thing, it might be somethign a high school student who is into computers or design or photography could take on as extra credit for school, or even as a hobby. This would have a dual effect as they would also feel included in the worship by helping create it!
I'm loving all the other ideas I'm reading on here as well! This is great!

Posted in: "The Kids"

Monica deRegt on May 18, 2010

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Hi Dina,
Thanks! I'm glad you feel included in my writing. I have tried as much as I can to keep these blogs gender-neutral or gender inclusive for exactly that reason, but at times it does get awkward-sounding and so I default to my own personal situation. Hopefully my observations can still be relatable to both genders in those times too. Blessings on your ministry!

Great perspective. Worship through music, with a congregation, has often made me feel as though we are somehow tasting  a bit of what heaven might be like, especially with some of these old classic hymns. I like to believe that God is listening to our hearts, not to our imperfect human words.

I agree that there is a dark side to Facebook, and that today's world (not only our young people) need to use it with discernment and discretion, but I would argue the point that Facebook feeds aren't helpful for relationships. Facebook, when used well, can be a wonderful touchpoint, another way to communicate with the people we are trying to live in relationship with. Anyone working with youth should know how to use it, and use it well--not to monitor or spy on the youth, but to encourage them, share inspirational things with them, inform them of events, use it to invite them out to coffee, view their pictures they are sharing of their lives, share some of your life with them. Don't use it to be a "FB chaperone" though. I have heard from far too many young people who roll their eyes in disgust about the private messages they have received from a well-meaning youth pastor or uncle who saw their questionable language or photo and felt the need to preach about it. Youth want to be heard, and when they know you care without judging, they will tone it down. Use FB to show you care, not to judge.


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