The focus of digital ministry in 2020 is centred on making church accessible from our homes. While this continues to be the primary focus for many. But there is a need to recognise that accessibility also means creating a space for children’s worship.
Parents of youth and small children are struggling in isolation. They must somehow perform the role of leader and authority figure in all the critical areas of their development. While this is not uncommon for parents, it is uncommon to be the singular source of authority and role modeling. As parents lead their children’s education, faith, and life lessons, many look to church leaders for guidance.
How Can Church Lead Children’s Ministry in 2020?
In some ways, you have to start by realising what life is like for children these days. Children are experiencing “zoom fatigue” from all the remote learning. Even many camps and activities are online experiences. Our children’s days are mind-numbingly scheduled around online activities and log-in times.
A more engaging experience on social media isn’t always the best option either. Social media platforms can be an uncomfortable space for parents. They must be extra cautious of the additional dangers these social spaces create in terms of privacy, exposure, and vulnerability.
Whether you have the resources for an advanced children’s ministry is a factor to consider. So we have pulled together a few ideas for creating a plan for children’s ministry by working with what you have today.
Children’s Ministry During Sunday Services
Church Times wrote an interesting piece back in March that seems relevant at the moment titled, ‘Children are Family at Church, not Guests’. Writer Margaret Pritchard Houston reminds us that children are not at church as attendees. But many parents always seem to realise this. They often feel the need to keep their children from distracting others.
But rather than focusing on fidgeting, we should nurture and encourage their faith. Houston writes, “All come to church to make friends, for support in the journey as pilgrims (fellowship), for worship, for teaching, for the breaking of bread, and for collective prayer. That means that children—unlike earlier generations, when instruction or fun was the goal—need to be given the space and freedom in church to worship, and to take part in as much of the service as they can.”
Taking a page from this mindset, what you can do immediately is encourage whole families to take part in the primary services your church provides. Whether online or in-person. This can help assure parents that children are welcome, and can actually learn and engage with the ministry you provide alongside their caregivers.
Parents also want support in guiding their children’s ministry at home beyond the Sunday services, which is the next step in how you can help parents and children in worship.
Offer Parental Support for Children’s Ministry
Whether your church can provide an actual online platform for children or not, you can still work with parents to help guide them in their spiritual leadership at home.
One way to do this is by creating a special channel or email list for parents where you can help point them toward youth programming, apps, or shows that your youth ministers have previewed.
Parents also need guidance in answering the questions their children will inevitably ask as their faith and worship grows. Sometimes these questions are hard for parents to answer. Creating a space for parents for parents to ask church leadership and other parents in the church for advice can help build confidence and also serve to nurture their leadership skills.
International Children’s Ministry has collected resources specifically to support children’s ministry from home, which could be a good place to get started for free videos, apps, and music and even activities that are age appropriate.
Provide Short, Streamable Content for Children
Unlike your Sunday Services, you don’t need to have as much pressure on live streaming for youth. But you can still create content that is easy to share with children and encourage their growth.
One suggestion could be a devotional by age group. In a five to ten minute video you can share a Bible passage, a short relevant application to real life, and an invitation to think through how children might apply this lesson. If you include a call to action or response from the children, you can use these responses in your next short video so children understand their response matters.
Give Children Service-Oriented Activities
Encouraging service is a tactile way to engage your youth in the application of faith in their lives. This is something even young children can do and can be as simple sending thank you cards to teachers and community leaders. It is an activity the whole family can do together as they think through ways to give.
Share Your Ideas!
We would love to hear how you are creating a space for children’s ministry in your congregation. Leave us a comment or perhaps write a guest post to help inspire other leaders in this area.