Over the years, we’ve tried different versions of a family service or children’s service, leaving people wondering what made it especially geared toward family and children. To most of us, it merely looked and felt like a regular service….with children in the pews. When we set out to do our first family service (which we now call a children’s service because it is done by children), we asked ourselves one question:
Could we create a service that was both geared toward and enjoyed by adults and children?
We hear from a lot of parishes about their interest in Love First and how they envision implementing it using their own gifts. A first – although big – step for many parishes is a children’s service. It seems that most parishes are trying some version of a children’s service and finding – like we did – that it somehow missed the mark.
Everyone at St. Barnabas has become accustomed to having children act out the gospel. So much, in fact, that if we stopped doing it, it would feel like something was missing. The most important thing – for us – is that the children play a huge part in the entire service. They are not there as props for an adult sermon, and they don’t sing a song that doesn’t include a way for the entire congregation to join in. We help children become part of the life of the service because they are part of the life of the church.
We love to involve other adults, too, in parts of the service that add to the playfulness. Children are playful, for sure, but adults can have just as much fun acting, singing, and serving at a children’s service. We like that our services give opportunities for adults to tap into their playful side — and from the looks of it, they like it too! When thinking about your gospel story and the skit you’d like to perform, think about which roles might be played by someone who has just stepped into a new leadership role. (We used skits as a way to initiate both our new senior warden and our new rector!)
Looking for gospel scripts for your children’s service? Check out our children’s service resources.