On Sunday, May 28, we tried something NEW!
It was exciting and unique—we had small tables in the front of the sanctuary, by the baptismal font, for younger kids to sit closer to the front. The front row was open for parents to sit nearby and monitor things like sharing and the use of “worship voices” and the results were amazing!
It was Memorial Weekend and our first time doing this in the sanctuary, so there weren’t a lot of kids. Yet. But as more families wonder if they are welcome to worship in the summer, my hope is that seeing this option tells them a resounding “Yes!!!!!”
Having the tables in front isn’t a gimmick—it’s been tried out in congregations bigger than us who asked a lot of the same questions that you might have.
My peer, Pastor Andrea Roske-Metcalfe at Grace Lutheran in Apple Valley wrote this advice to churches, kind of like ours. “I know some of you have been interested in something like this [a “prayground”], but you’re not sure whether it will fly, not sure how long it will last before mutiny sets in, not sure how long the kids will be interested. [Ours has been here for] two years and it’s hard to believe it was ever not there.”
Not every kid will sit up here. But we have Worship Activity Bags for anyone who comes to worship—to find quiet games and activities. On June 11th, we’ll begin with specific lessons about the parts of the worship service (watch for THAT huge surprise the next time you come to worship!)
The point? To provide kids an opportunity to use multiple senses to fully engage the lesson, to shape their experience and to create closeness to their faith that is so important to their development!
You might be thinking: What if… they don’t always get along? What if… they forget to use worship voices? What if… another parent or sibling has to remind someone to share?
Yeah, that might happen. But what if… YOU are transformed?
What if… the kids start to learn more about worship? What if the kids keep asking great questions about things that they are seeing or hearing?
What if… somebody’s heart in the congregation is filled with hope because they see the kids up front and know that our kids matter. Children aren’t the future of the church, CHILDREN ARE THE CHURCH!!!!
I can’t wait to see how Faith Lutheran will grow from this experience. What if… in two years, we will be able to say “it’s hard to believe it was ever NOT there?”
I hope that is the case.
Pastor John Klawiter