Summer is coming and all of us are ready for that warmer weather and the down time that is coming our way. Then someone in the church leadership looks around and says what will we provide for the children of the congregation during the summer?
Hopefully many of you have already had this conversation and are in full swing with your plans. If not, then let’s get that conversation started.
In most Anglican parishes Sunday School (or whatever it is called in your parish) concludes in late May or early June. At this point the majority of the families with the children in the parish vanish until the beginning of September when activities for the children and their families start up again. In all the parishes that I have been a part of there is a definite decrease in the energy around worship and often the only family present with their children is the clergy family.
The need to keep children and their families engaged in the worshipping life of the Christian community no matter what time of the year is paramount for healthy Christian communities. The question then arises how to make that happen?
Planning, planning and more planning is the answer.
Plan to have children involved in the regular Sunday worship. Here are some ideas:
- Have children’s goodie bags available. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. Have some Bible colouring pages in them with crayons or pencil crayons (you probably don’t want to use markers), word puzzles for those who are older and anything else that you might think would help to keep them engaged.
- Plan a service once a month during the summer months that deliberately engages the children and their families. Music that appeals to the children, child led prayers of the people, and a sermon that is child directed but that will speak to adults (I know, I know this can be a hard one to do).
- Ask for volunteers that will deliberately be attentive to the children and their families during the Sunday worship. They will need to make a commitment to help the parents when they have a cranky child (this saved me many times when my children were younger) and give them the needed break by distracting them or taking care of them for a little bit.
How are you going to engage the children and their families in your church this summer? Let’s get the conversation going.