How do you incorporate children into the Sunday worship service?

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Worship is an intergenerational time, but children aren't always fully engaged or included. I'm especially looking for ideas for later elementary and middle school. What's working at your church?  

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We have people in the congregation read the scripture before the sermon and that is one place people from all generations can participate. Youth also participate in choir and praise teams.

We just talked with our pastor about making that happen! Do you have a pattern in place so that you're sure to include people of various ages throughout the month, or does it depend on the month? I remember as a child going to a Catholic Mass where another child read scripture. It was like an instant connection. I wanted to go back there for worship because there seemed to be a place for me! Something seemingly small can have a bit impact . . . The worship team at my church does include teens and preteens--I'm so glad! We also have junior deacons who participate in the offering and prayer.

Do you use any type of worship outline/folder? I want to provide something that will help the older elementary and middle schoolers track with the sermon and engage more fully in other elements of worship, but I'm still looking for a good way to do that.

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Hi, Sorry it took so long to get back to you. For scripture readers I simply compile an ongoing list of people of all ages who would like to read the scripture. Sometimes I try and find someone that matches the service, but mostly I just schedule according to whomever is available. It makes it more natural rather than focussing on age. The only criteria is that they can read well and that they use the NIV translation.

As a worship planning team we're reading the book "A Church For All Ages" which is helping us to understand and hopefully change how we do intergenerational worship.

We don't do anything specific with sermon outlines other than a general one. We have a large ESL group so we include the various scripture references. Other than that it's just the main points of the sermon with room for notes.

I like the idea of junior deacons. Can you tell me more about who they are and how they are selected?

It does really come down to who is available, doesn't it : ) I'd like to start creating a list like yours soon so that more people (especially kids) can be involved.

I'll need to get back to you on the junior deacon question. I know that the pastor mentors them, but I'm not sure how they are chosen, or what type of schedule and responsibilities they have. I'll let you know when I find out.