Children and the Liturgy
In the liturgy of the Divine Service we tell and retell in ritual and song the story of salvation. We establish our identity as part of God’s family, finding our place in the long history of God’s people of which we and our children have become a part through Baptism. To gather for this important activity is both a duty and a delight. We are pleased that you have chosen to worship as a family. From experience we know that there are great benefits for a family that shares the liturgy together.
Your conversation with your child will convey the importance of the Divine Service. Through your attitude, your child will sense that participation in the liturgy is a joyous opportunity and a fulfilling experience. Your expectations that your child will participate in liturgy (standing, sitting, praying, singing, listening) will speak volumes that say that children, too, are members of the Body of Christ. Guiding children in worship is a privilege. It can be accomplished in love. May the Lord bless your worship together.
BEFORE THE LITURGY
- Talk about expectations on your way to church.
- Get a drink and visit the restroom before entering the sanctuary.
- Sit where your child can readily see the chancel area and visually participate in the liturgy. Sitting up front can be very helpful for this.
- Point out the pulpit, altar, lectern, organ and communion rail. Discuss how they are used.
- Look for colors and symbols in the banners, windows, paraments and other artwork.
- Explain that they are there to remind us of God’s love and care.
- Find the crosses in the church. Tell your child that the cross reminds us of Jesus.
- Talk about people who help during the service and mention the jobs they do (pastor, usher, elder, organist, acolyte, etc.).
DURING THE LITURGY
- Be consistent in your expectations and routines.
- Allow your child to sit in a comfortable manner. Booster chairs are available.
- If your child wiggles, avoid fretting: Adults wiggle, too!
- Participate joyfully! Your child will model your actions. Don’t worry that your child doesn’t listen to what you say, know that he or she watches everything that you do.
- Make church a warm and loving place to be. Discipline in a kind manner. Demonstrate forgiveness.
- Help your child listen for a key word, such as Jesus, God, love. Look ahead in the readings to discover another word that will be used often today.
- Explain what is happening as the service unfolds. Answer your child’s questions briefly and accurately.
- Involve your child in the worship service. Sing together. Fold hands for prayers; stand, sit and kneel at appropriate times. Take them to communion with you for a Baptismal blessing.
AFTER THE LITURGY
- Greet the pastor at the door. Lift your child to be at the pastor’s eye level. Encourage your child to shake hands with the pastor.
- Present the pastor with a picture of worship that your child drew during the offering. This is your child’s offering to God.
- Talk about the worship service by mentioning parts that were especially meaningful to you (the hymn of the day, the sermon, Holy Absolution, Holy Communion, etc.)
- Make a praise booklet. Have your child draw pictures that reflect what God has done or things for which your child is thankful. Present the book to your pastor.
- Sing hymns and songs together.
- Read and reflect on Scripture readings together.
- Pray for the pastor, organist, and others who have led the liturgy.Pray for congregation members who were included in prayers in the worship service.
- Encourage your child to draw a picture for Jesus (of worship, of Jesus’ love, of a favorite Bible story) and take this to worship to place in the offering plate the following Sunday.