Entrust: Involving Children in the Important within the church (part 2)

This article is part of the series “Building GenNext.” You can read the previous post by clicking here.

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image borrowed from greatschools.org

Somewhere in the past, someone concluded the primary reason children were leaving the church was somehow related to it’s boringness. There was a slow movement toward making entertainment more important than education and edification. And yet, in spite of the hyped up programs and entertainment schemes, kids are still exiting the church in droves.

One truth has become abundantly clear: Retainment by entertainment is ineffective.

If we want children and young adults to remain in the body of Christ, they need to be an integral part of it’s work. Instead of inventing ways to serve them, we need to teach them to serve others. We need to involve them in the important or they will go be an important part of something else.

Entrusting Children In the Church

As we discussed in the Engage segment of this series, children need to have meaningful relationships with Christians other than their parents. They need mentors.

Here are a few ways to get kids involved:

Pair an adult with a child to be greeters at the doors of the building. They can say hello and hand people bulletins. This helps the child learn how to look adults in the eye and the importance of making people feel welcomed.

Have kids around 9 or 10 pair up with a responsible teen (that’s not an oxymoron by the way) to clean up the Lord’s supper trays and prepare them for the next service.

Task some young kids with picking up discarded papers and trash from the pews and maybe use a little push vacuum and/or hand-held vacuum to clean anything after the service. Have them put any songbooks/bibles neatly away.

About once a quarter, have the kids go row by row and inspect the songbooks, pulling out those that need repair and teach them how to fix them.

At the end of the service, have some designated young boys walk up and down the aisle to collect visitor’s cards for the deacons.

If there is a rotation of teachers each quarter, ask some of the young adults (high school – college) to assist with the baby, toddler, pre-k, and kindergarten classes.

Ask the middle school – high school kids to assist with the curriculum preparations for the elementary and younger classes. They can cut things out, gather supplies, make copies, set up bulletin boards and more.

Take them to visit the elderly and shut-ins. This teaches them how to interact with the elderly which is not entirely predictable, particularly if some of the elderly people have dementia or alzheimer’s.

Ask the high-school aged boys to participate in worship by reading scripture, leading prayer, assisting with the Lord’s Supper, leading singing, or giving a short invitation. I suggest having a few training sessions prior to doing this so they are clear on what is expected. Don’t pressure this point—not all men are comfortable with a public role in the service—but make sure an opportunity is provided.

I’m sure there are many other service-oriented tasks that we can involve our children in and I hope that the above list stimulates some ideas that you can integrate in your congregation.

Let’s help each other out! What are some other ideas you have for getting kids involved in the important?

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21 thoughts on “Entrust: Involving Children in the Important within the church (part 2)

  1. Wally Fry August 5, 2016 / 06:05

    Great post as always Elihu.

    We just finished Vacation Bible School and did something this year that illustrates some of the points you made.

    For each class, we always have a helper and a teacher, so we need 10 people willing to teach and help for each of 5 classes. Well, this year we had some trouble frankly with enough teachers, so some of the folks who volunteered to be helpers had to be made teachers. Then, obviously, we were short of helpers.

    Problem solved. Some of our teen students, rather than attending the teen class, served as class helpers for the younger classes. They still got to get the lessons and the adult teachers had helpers.

    Oh, my…they did such a great job, and it was very encouraging.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Elihu August 5, 2016 / 06:49

      Wow! What an awesome example! I’ll bet they found some joy in helping as well. There is something intensely gratifying in a job well done. Thank you for sharing this, Wally!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. marijo1245 August 5, 2016 / 07:43

    Growing up in a small church we had our hands in everything. As teenagers (our VBS was at night) we assisted teachers and even were allowed to be the lead teachers in the preschool classes. This is where I got my start. At the age of 12 I was responsible for a class of 2, 3, and 4 year olds. This stuck and carried over into the school year. I was given charge over the preschool “mission friends” class on Wednesday aftwrnoons. Honestly, from being allowed to teach a VBS class to speaking at national conferences, it is worth entrusting the children of the church with responsibilities!

    As well, we were taught “mission action”. We learned how to reach out to others in need in our community. We also led backyard bible clubs in the park. Which eventually led to a group of us teenage girls doing our backyard bible clubs out on the mission field in other towns and states.

    So many words to say, yes!! Make the children part of the church. Teach them to give their time and teach them to serve! They are not going to learn it on their own!!

    Excellent post Elihu!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Elihu August 7, 2016 / 04:27

      That’s awesome! It sounds like you had some excellent opportunities to be entrusted with important things. I have always been part of smaller churches also so I was wondering as I wrote this post how large churches would do this. Any thoughts?

      Liked by 1 person

      • marijo1245 August 7, 2016 / 15:39

        While I grew up in a small church, the church I attended in Colorado Springs was enormous (10,000 to 12,000 or more). The children were so involved in so many aspects of that church. A lot of the teenagers ran the “cafe/coffee bar” . The children served along side the adults with the special needs service, all productions the church put on the children were an intricately woven into it. Every where an adult served the children of all ages served right along with them. On all occasions when I taught I always had a teenager teaching with me. The children had prayer ministries led by older youth…I could go on forever with how the children were taught to serve!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. SLIMJIM August 6, 2016 / 22:28

    Good post. As a Pastor I see the importance of involving the young early on. I like the practical suggestions too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elihu August 7, 2016 / 04:28

      Thanks, SlimJim! Is there anything you would add? I’m always looking for new ideas, especially as a parent of three kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SLIMJIM August 7, 2016 / 08:25

        Actually I realized reading this I didn’t have much practical ideas at the moment until your posts! I was convicted and just prayed that God would give me practical ideas to implement this in my church . Again thank you Elihu for this post!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. The True Light! August 8, 2016 / 13:31

    Members of all ages can be involved in visiting the elderly and shut-ins to try to help them in any way they can. Otherwise, there are some excellent suggestions in your post! Good job…

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tabitha59reachingout August 9, 2016 / 16:46

    Great ideas, Elihu. We have a 9 year old granddaughter who is always asking to help. I said to her this past week-end that “I think you really like to help, don’t you?”, and she replied “I love to help. I wish I could do more of it.” Too often we think they are too young or we can’t be bothered to teach them, but if we have the patience to work alongside of them and answer many questions, etc., they are happy and do well. It is great training and they feel good about these things as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elihu August 11, 2016 / 14:50

      So true! It really was enlightening to read some of the above books and realize how much we’ve left our children out of the important. Thank you for sharing your granddaughter’s comment. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. VictorsCorner August 17, 2016 / 23:35

    It’s really a great idea to get children involved in activities in the church. And many of them are often willing to do it.

    Giving them opportunities to sing 9children’s choir, for instance), play musical instruments and even hand out tracts in street outreaches are fun experiences for most of them.

    Like

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