The Pondering Pastor

These "Ponderings" originally appeared as articles in our church newsletter or bulletin or just as the musings of one bald pastor. I place them here to encourage you, my fellow blogite and maybe to help us all in our pondering.

Friday, February 23, 2007

PEEKING OVER THE PEW

A WORSHIP SERVICE CAN BE A PRETTY DAUNTING PLACE for a kid. You have to sit still and quiet, and when you do get to stand up you can’t see because of the full-size people in front of you. You sing songs that aren’t on the radio or television. The person up front often talks in a language you think you recognize, but there are a lot of very large unfamiliar words. If you’re fortunate enough to attend a church with a video screen, at least you have something to watch, but honestly it doesn’t come close to Saturday morning cartoons. Add to that something about eating bread that’s really a body and drinking blood, it’s enough to scare the life right out of you. Truly, it’s tough being a kid in the pew (whatever that is).

A number of years ago I came across a list of ideas for making ”going to church” a more enjoyable experience for child and parent. I recently came across that list and thought it a good time to share some of its ideas once again. It’s a good reminder for all of us, young and old.

Ideas for Before the Service

Come with an sense of anticipation of meeting with God. Your attitude will become their attitude.

Sit near the front where your child can easily see what is taking place.

Read through the Order of Service in the bulletin to help your child get ready for the Service.

Go over any difficult words in the bulletin with your child.

If you see a song listed in the bulletin that is your favorite share that with your child.

Ideas for During the Service

Let your child hold the Bible when the Scripture is used.

Touch your child often to show your love and warmth during the service, not just when they are getting the wiggles.

Provide writing materials for your child, encourage them to write or draw about the things they are hearing and seeing during the worship service. Have them “illustrate” the sermon.

Be sure to include your child in the “Greeting” time.

Encourage your child to come forward for “What’s in the Box?” Join them if they’re a little unsure about coming by themselves.

Let your child participate in the course of the service through prayer, singing, passing the offering plate, sharing “God-sightings.”

After the Service

Express your appreciation of being with your child during the service. Your attitude will become their attitude.

Commend your child for their positive participation. “Your really did a great job singing today.”

Talk about what went on in the service. Not as a “test,” but as an honest discussion about they saw and heard and learned. Be ready to explain the difficult parts, like the Lord’s Supper.

Share your excitement about something you did or learned in the service. Remember more things are caught than taught.

Finally, let us all pray that the Holy Spirit will create in each of us, young and old, a heart that will declare, “I rejoiced with those who said, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’” (Psalm 122:1)