7 Ways to help first-time teens/kids in church

parent-talking-to-teen

Having been used to a fun and engaging kids program, kids and/or youth transitioning into church services can be a make-or-break time for their Sunday experiences. Here’s a few tips for parents and churches to help them love “adult” church as much as they loved their kids/youth program:

  1. Ask them how they feel about it. This helps start the conversation, you can tell them what to expect and helps them get excited about gathering as God’s people in this different context.
  2. Sit with them and model singing, listening and participating in the meeting. Maybe take turns with other parents to sit with them and their friends. It can be nice doing this together with other Youth Kids.
  3. Our church has YOUTH EDITION sermon outlines. Grab a YOUTH outline on your way in (or ask where to get one). These have some more guided questions to help the kids/youth listen and take notes. Get them to write down words they hear but don’t understand so you can discuss them later.
  4. Plan to have a ‘post-match debrief’ so your child/ren can ask questions and help you get a read on what they have understood from the meeting. It would be good to talk about what you remember and/or have been convicted of to model repentance, change and growth from God’s word.
  5. Investigate ways your child can serve at church. Start with having them tag along with you where appropriate. This helps them feel more a part of the church family and less of a ‘consumer’.
  6. Encourage your teens to keep an eye out for new and visiting teens and to welcome them by talking to them – treating them how they would like to be welcomed if they walked into an unfamiliar church with unfamiliar people.
  7. Unless it is already happening, quietly and respectfully ask the preachers and service leaders to include the youth so they feel included as valued members of the congregation. This could include teen-specific sermon applications and/or illustrations, acknowledging their attendance and the vibrance their energy brings.

Dad’s, we need to take the lead here! Studies show what many have suspected for a long time – children whose father valued and prioritised church attendance and involvement have significantly higher rates of church attendance as adults.

Where there are families in our churches with single mothers, particularly of boys, this is also where men in church can be role models to these boys – but talk to the Mum first!

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Kids and Church Services

Am I going against my word? In the ABOUT page of this blog you will read that I do not want to weigh in on the (often heated) debate over the inclusion and involvement of kids in church services. There are many factors that influence this decision such as the size of the congregation, numbers and spread of ages of the kids, the availability of volunteer teachers and the venue (what facilities are there for a kids church service or Sunday School program, or even the ability to have all the adults and kids in the one room at the same time!). This often come before the varied biblical convictions and/or family preferences of those who have the power of decision over such matters. Given that any of the above factors could easily change, I think we should hold fast to a principle of kids/youth in church services and hold looser to the strategy. This allows the strategy to change in response to changing variables while still holding to the same principle.

I suggest the following as a principle for a church to adopt before deciding a strategy:

Principle:
Discipling and equipping kids for membership – into God’s heavenly kingdom and into a locally gathered body (church).

As (God willing) a church grows/changes, it can then adjust its strategy accordingly.

 


Do you find these posts helpful in parenting to the Glory of God?
If you do, then I’m sure others would too. 

Please SHARE these posts, and in doing so pray for a generation of kids who have had the gospel of Jesus taught & modelled to them by their parents.

Power of a Jingle

Child Singing

Advertisers have long recognised the power of jingles. With this in mind I tried a little experiment at home the other day. I started whistling the tune to a song we sing at church – an adult congregational song, not a kids song. I didn’t sing any of the words, I just whistled the tune of the chorus. What happened convinced me of the benefits of including children in our church services – I later heard our kids singing the song (correct words and all) as they were getting ready for the day! How cool is that! The went to school with gospel truths ringing in their ears and on their lips!

This was not a Sunday, we don’t usually have music playing at home (there’s already enough noise!) and I am not on the church music team.

This has convinced me of two things:

  1. children (at least school-aged) benefit greatly from participating in congregational singing at church, and
  2. playing gospel-contented music at home can only enhance this.

Consider the benefits to kids (and us) being surrounded by these words such as these before we scatter into the world:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

“Jesus Paid It All”, Elvina M. Hall, 1865. Copyright: Public Domain

 


Do you find these posts helpful in parenting to the Glory of God?
If you do, then I’m sure others would too. 

Please SHARE these posts, and in doing so pray for a generation of kids who have had the gospel of Jesus taught & modelled to them by their parents.