Beginning this Sunday you will notice a basket of colorful clipboards in the foyer of the sanctuary. The purpose behind providing these clipboards is to offer parents (especially those who are visiting) a tool to use in the “pew” to train their children to participate in corporate worship. Yes, I said participate. As I learned in one of my favorite books, Parenting in the Pew, worship must be taught, just like tying shoes and brushing teeth. We do a great disservice to our children when we teach them to merely sit still and stay quiet.
Suggestions on using the clipboards:
- Use the Kid’s Bulletin attached to the clipboard to walk your child through the liturgy of the service – the different parts of the service. Ask them questions like: Why do we need to be called to worship, why do we pray all together, why do we recite catechisms and confessions of faith (and what’s the difference between the two). Many of our kids went through Worship Training and should have a head start on answering such questions.
- Use the paper attached to the clipboard and instruct your children to draw pictures of things they hear in the sermon. Use some of the paper yourself to draw items for your children to copy – like taking notes but in picture form. Or you can help them by asking them questions throughout the sermon to help them stay focused. Listen for specific points that will be easily understood by children and suggest things for them to draw.
- If your children are able to read and write then train them to take notes – more words – less pictures. Again, let them see you taking notes and let them copy if necessary.
- Instruct your children to write down words they don’t understand and review these with them after the service. Or have them write down questions about what they don’t understand.
- Afterwards, ask you children, “What did God tell you in today’s sermon?”
- I often listen for 3 things I can ask the children after the service. When the children line up for a treat at the back of the sanctuary it is often obvious they struggled to stay focused (and this is normal) so I whip out my 3 questions to see if they were listening. These should be really easy to answer.
I realize that not all families are ready to have their children with them throughout the entire sermon, or there are weeks where your child really can’t handle it. That is why we offer Worship Training and the Cry Room (for a little one-on-one intense training). But I hope all our families know they are encouraged to worship together – this is our goal. I hope one day to see more children in worship service than in Worship Training.