Tips for Intergenerational Worship
As many of our churches are making plans for in-person worship, one element is providing new opportunities for ministry. Rather than excusing children from worship, most churches will be mitigating risk by not offering a separate children’s time or Sunday School. So, our worship does not need to be vastly different, but should to be shaped considering the presence of God’s children of all ages.
Below are several tips to consider for crafting a more inclusive and intergenerational worship. Please know that I am available (firstname.lastname@example.org) to help talk through technical possibilities (with all experience levels) and opportunities for new ministry in the face of the unique obstacles in this hybrid time.
- Be Welcoming: Emphasize to parents and the entire congregation that having children in worship is a blessing and joy. Wiggly bodies and occasional noises are welcome part of the full body of Christ worshipping together.
- Read Different Translations: Consider reading Scripture from a translation of the Bible that is easier for all ages to understand. Possibilities include: New International Version, Contemporary English Version, Contemporary English Bible, Good New Translation, or the Message Interpretation.
- Consider Your Illustrations: Being mindful of children and youth in worship could be as simple as diversifying your sermon illustrations with stories that younger worshippers might relate to, such as stories from your childhood or about your own children. Another option is the use of a children’s book as a parable for this entire congregation or the use of pictures (projected on a screen) as visual components of your message.
- Involve Children and Youth in Worship: While it may be difficult to bring kids up to the front to help with liturgy, maybe there are pieces of worship with which kids could help. Possibilities include: clapping, waving their arms, or standing during certain parts of a responsive reading; pre-recording a reading of scripture or a musical offering for playback during worship, kids love the clarity of rules and might be great helpers to direct people where to go in the flow of traffic in a building; or youth could help dismiss pews at the end of worship.