Worshiping with Children

“Let the little children come to me.”-Matthew 19:14

 
Here at Calvary children are welcome and encouraged to attend worship. They are important members of our worshiping community and should feel that they belong to the household of faith. Children of all ages are invited to come forward for the Children’s Message.
 
At the same time, when children are young, it can sometimes feel challenging to bring them into worship. Here are some tips for parent (or grandparents, etc.) and for other worshipers on how to help children enter into worship.
 

Tips for Parents

  • Help yourself to a Toddler Activity Bag or other resource available at the KIDS Connect table in the Narthex before entering worship. It will help keep your child occupied as you worship together. 
  • Try to sit near the front. Children who can see what is happening feel more involved.
  • The rumblings of children coloring or being busy with small toys are welcome in worship.
  • Make sure your child can see the overhead screens. Or teach them how to find Bible passages in the SPARK Story Bibles that are provided.
  • Children learn “worship etiquette” by participating and by watching the people around them (that includes you!). Feel free to whisper instructions to help them learn.
  • Kids love actions! Encourage children to participate in the actions of the service: standing and singing during the songs, folding hands and closing eyes during prayers, etc.
  • Children who have received First Communion Instruction are invited forward to receive communion-but those who haven’t are still invited to come forward for a blessing-this can be a very meaningful part of the service for both of you.
  • If young children get too disruptive, feel free to take them out of the service. The nursery is is located next door to the church office and is available for parents to use during all worship services. Childcare is available for children 0-5 years in our staffed Nursery from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM on Sundays (Sept-May).
 

Tips for the Congregation

  • It is our mission to welcome people of all ages and stages into worship.
  • Greet adults AND children who are worshiping next to you, and be intentional about learning children’s names.
  • Praise children for participating in worship. And be specific: “Good job at following along with the Bible readings.”
  • Keep an eye out for families that need assistance during worship. Do they need an activity bag, the use of a restroom, help with one child while the parent takes another child to the restroom (“May I hold your little one, while you take your other child to the restroom?”), guidance on how to walk forward for Communion, etc.?
  • Hand offering baskets to children, not over their heads!
  • Have patience with the learning process, sometimes children will be restless and active during worship. Remember, we are all children of God, and learning how to worship is important. As a congregation, we should help support, not hinder, families in honoring the promises they made at baptism.
 
Our children, who love so feely, need to be in worship, and they need to learn how to express their love to God. Our children are counting on us, their parents and their congregation , to teach them. It means that we can endure the goldfish crackers in the pews, and the occasional loud comments with grace and the understanding that having them there is pleasing to God and part of our responsibility in fulfilling the promises we all made at their baptism.