Photo by ©CreationSwap/Marian Trinidad
By Tricia Brown, UMCom
Children likely comprise a significant portion of your congregation. From the infants in the nursery to the sixth-graders tossing a football on the church lawn, they all have a place and a purpose in the church. How can you minister to the needs of the youngest members of your congregation?
We can easily overlook or ignore children. That should not be the case in church. Does your church reach out to families? If so, make every effort to affirm the children in your congregation.
Part of acknowledging children is getting to know them. Talk to them. Learn what they enjoy doing. Show interest in who they are. Make families and children with disabilities feel welcome and show how your church can help meet their needs.
Jesus told the disciples, "Let the little children come to me" (Mark 10:14b, NRSV). How can your church make a concentrated effort to include children in worship, service and fellowship?
In worship. Children's programs are great, but never exclude boys and girls from the primary worship service. Here are five ways you can you be more intentional about including children in worship.
In service. Make sure that children have meaningful worship roles in the church. As children grow up in the body of Christ, serving should become a natural part of their Christian lives.
You have a responsibility to make sure that every aspect of a child’s experience at church is a safe one. Make sure that you take into consideration:
The UMC Safe Sanctuaries policy is a good place to start as you work to protect the children in your congregation.
In fellowship. An important part of church is getting to know others with whom you can share life. This often happens during times of fellowship. Promote family outreach activities where parents and children can meet other families in the church.
Get MyCom tips for church leaders in my inbox.
Just because children are small doesn't mean they are less important. Are your children being given the best environment and spiritual education that you can provide? Are they learning in the nurseryand on through young adulthood? Be creative. You may even need to experiment a little, but don't neglect the task at hand. Take care of the children in your church. Help them find their place in the body of Christ.