KIDS CHURCH IN THE SANCTUARY?
BY JERRY LENZ
Consider this revolutionary way to minister to your entire church family.
ARE YOU TRULY INTERESTED IN developing a family-friendly church? If you are, consider transforming your main sanctuary into most kid-energizing, Dad-and Mom-surprising, Grandpa-and Grandma-pleasing place in your neighborhood. Hold a Kids Church service in the sanctuary during your main service.
Don’t Panic! This isn’t a time for a senior pastor panic attack. What I’m about to describe is an opportunity for the senior pastor and everyone else in the church to be intimately aware of what the kids are learning.
Kids Church could be moved into the main service twice a year and perhaps even once a quarter. The goal is to bring everyone together so they can experience God’s love, His Word and His joy in an uncommon way: with no age barriers.
Sure, kids have been in adult services before; but how often have parents been in Kids Church services? I’m not talking about a spectator program or a musical but an actual church service led by kids.
It’s a chance for everyone to learn with the children and experience the fun they have in Kids Church. It’s an opportunity for everyone to have an encounter with God’s Word in a family setting.
First things first. The Kids Church team needs to be running a smooth, quick-paced program that is functioning well on its own. The ministry teams for children’s praise and worship and for puppet and drama must already be established.
All the teams should be integrated with adult helpers. To move the Kids Church service into the main auditorium should not require an overhaul of the children’s ministry.
The pastor and church staff of course need to be in agreement about allowing the leaders of Kids Church to step in and conduct the main service. It is wise for the pastor first to visit Kids Church and see exactly how the typical service operates. Nothing beats firsthand information.
As the leadership embraces Kids Church, they’ll gain a clear vision of the impact of sharing it with the whole church. They will want everyone in the congregation to experience how God is moving in the lives of the children.
The blueprint. Bringing Kids Church into the main service is meant to promote the unity of the congregation. It’s not a program at the expense of a service; it is a service.
The congregation will not be watching the children; they will be worshiping with the children. The children’s pastor will not be preaching in place of the senior pastor; they will be shepherding together.
For example, the children’s pastor and the senior pastor can preach together. Object lessons, Bible teachings and illustrations can be presented in a tag-team style as the pastors alternate segments of the service.
Members from the adult worship team can join with the children’s worship team. The adult greeters and ushers can be joined by children who fulfill the same responsibilities in Kids Church.
You may want to divide the congregation into two teams. Play the silly Kids Church games early in the service-wild, laughing, “I can’t believe this is church” type of games. Keep them short and in full view of the congregation. And don’t forget to obey the rules and award prizes!
After the fun and laughter of the games, it’s time for preaching and for learning a Scripture verse. Involve everyone in learning and reciting the verse. Adults will leave the service with a Scripture in their hearts and find themselves recalling it in the days following-perhaps even more than in a normal” service.
Everyone will be impacted with a concise Bible teaching and with supporting object lessons. After the service concludes with prayer and an altar call (if appropriate), people will leave with a fresh biblical understanding gained through numerous illustrations of the subject matter. They will remember the service and allow its ministry to continue touching their lives.
This blueprint is a starting point for planning a main-service Kids Church. Each local church should decide how to tailor the service to their own specific needs. You may want to video the event for future enjoyment and for sharing with others what a fun and farnily-friendly church you have.
Family building. The benefits of allowing Kids Church to become the occasional main service are motivating:
The church becomes a family worship center instead of merely talking about being one.
People will be inspired to be a part of the ongoing excitement of Kids Church (which means less begging for helpers!).
The vision of ministry both to and by children is put before the entire church. Your people can more easily embrace what they’ve experienced.
Think of the car ride home. just imagine parents and kids laughing about the games, teasing one another about whose side won, and challenging each other to recite the Scripture memory verse.
Moving Kids Church into the main service is not an imposition. It’s a wonderful opportunity to build your church family.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY MINISTRIES TODAY, MAY/JUNE 1995, PAGES 67, 68. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.