By Melinda Kinsman Melinda Kinsman serves as an interim coach/architect at a 600-member dual-campus downtown church, coaching church leaders in raising the value of kids’ and family ministry and helping them build sustainable ministry systems. She lives with her husband in Boise, Idaho.
Is your church choosing the family worship format as a first step in re-opening your physical campus? All generations worshipping together can be wonderful, but ensuring children feel seen and included in this environment can be challenging. There are thoughtful ways you can engage children in family worship, but keeping kids engaged through the entire service remains a challenge. In an effort to reduce distraction, many ministries provide children with bags filled with crayons, small toys, and a kid-oriented bulletin.
One ministry calculated the expense of providing these weekly supplies and realized the investment paid off. They found that providing each regularly attending child with a branded backpack filled with supplies to bring to family worship had a number of benefits.
- The backpacks reinforced a sense of identity, belonging, and purpose for the children. It provided a reminder of their connection to the church family.
- It empowered families to prepare to attend the worship service. Think about it–kids don’t hesitate to bring required equipment to team practices and games. The backpack motivates kids to attend service with items they need to participate in family worship.
- As items were consumed, parents were empowered to continue to equip their kids through notes on individual items explaining why they were included.
- Providing the backpacks communicated that children were welcome in the service, calming anxious parents who worried their kids would be distracting.
Not sure what to include in a family worship backpack? No problem! Here are some ideas:
- A variety of age appropriate sermon notes pages in a folder. (Yes, preschool notes were included!) You can find many free sermon note templates online. Here are a few:
- Kid’s Sermon Notes Printables from Melissa Schaper
- Sermon Notes Coloring Page from Children’s Ministry Deals
- Customizable Sermon Notes for Upper Elementary Kids from Ashley Lanier on Deeper KidMin
- A pack of colored pencils for elementary kids, crayons for preschoolers. Here’s one source.
- Pencil and pencil sharpener
- An age appropriate tactile toy
- Chenille stems
- A snack with a note inviting parents to include a non-liquid, non-crumbly snack once the provided snack was enjoyed.
- Parents were encouraged to have their child bring his/her Bible.
It is a unique season of ministry and pivoting to a family worship model may be the best option for your church right now. This is a great opportunity to notice the children who participate in family worship and provide them with a fun backpack and materials to stay engaged. Get creative and have fun with it!