UMAB Church of Hamilton
Saturday, May 18, 2013
A United Methodist-American Baptist Congregation
Worshiping with Children
"Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs."
Children are loved and nurtured here...and we have a commitment to help them learn to worship. Perhaps they won't understand what is going on or being said, but they can understand that this is a place where they are loved, accepted and needed. Worship can provide an opportunity for parents to be involved in the spiritual nurture of their children. Talk with them about the service. Explain what is happening. Help them catch your enthusiasm and happiness about being in church. Let these suggestions help you relax and appreciate the children who are present. Truly, the kingdom of Heaven does belong to them.
Suggestions for Parents
The time we are around the altar is one of the most important times in our worship. To a child it says "something special happens at God's table." We encourage ALL people, children and adults, to receive communion. If you prefer you and/or your children may come forward for a blessing.
Children learn about worship by participation. Please feel free to whisper to children to teach. Allow children to participate in the offering by sharing their own financial resources. Sit in the front rows of the church. Children who can see will feel a part of the activity. Share the bulletin and hymnal with a child at her/his eye level. You may wish to underline words in the bulletin for young readers and non-readers who pick up repetitive words. Talk at home about what people/events might need our prayers and encourage the children to pray in church.
Talk about worship at home during the week: "Do you remember the story we heard in church?"; "We can pray a part of the prayer we used in church last Sunday."
Relax! Your family is important here!
Remember that it is hard for children to sit for long. Allow time to get settled. Take children to the bathroom before the service begins. It is sometimes helpful to seat a child next to an adult. Introduce your child to people nearby. A church building is a place that children love to explore. Most children explore quietly and we encourage parents to let the children explore. We want their earliest memories of church to be wonderful. We don't want them to feel trapped in a pew. Now if your child starts running circles around the altar during communion, please know that this has happened before and will happen again. If your child is so inclined, we hope you will, for the sake of order, retrieve your wandering (and likely giggling) child before everyone tries to join in the fun.
Allow children to sit, move around or kneel on the floor and use the pew for a desk. Make some ground rules ahead of time (like no paper airplanes, bopping their sibling on the head, tossing shoes across the sanctuary). Make sure all noisy toys are stowed away during the service. It isn't always easy, but growing up in any family, especially this one, is well worth the effort.
We keep a supply of "Kid's Worship Packs" on a table right outside the sanctuary doors. The packs include a special bulletin for children, crayons, and paper to draw on. Help yourself to these if they are helpful. They are restocked weekly.
Still have a question? Please feel free to talk with the pastor.
Suggestions for the UMAB Church Congregation:
Before the service begins, greet the families sitting around you - both children and their parents. Ensure that children have a bulletin of their own. Hand offering plates to children, not over their heads. Invite a child you know to sit with you during church, even when the child's parents are present. Quietly explain to them what is happening during the service. Understand when children occasionally get a bit noisy during the service. This is a time for all of us to worship God as a community, each and every voice is welcomed and cherished by God.
United Methodist-American Baptist Church
211 North Sixth Street - Hamilton, MT 59840
Church Office Hours: Tuesdays - Fridays, 9:00-noon