This is an appeal to all those leading churches and preparing for Zoom, Youtube and Facebook services. It is also an appeal to parents.
Don’t forget about children and their spiritual well-being during the lockdown.Tweet
I appreciate there are so many reasons why we might put that a long way down the list. Putting together an online service can be complex for those of us not used to doing such things (which is most of us), especially when the lockdown means that your usual technical support team are unable to help. Parents also have been hard pressed and at their wits end trying to home school the children, provide for lockdown play and social life as well as work from home themselves. It is a big ask and trying to pull the family together on a Sunday may be difficult.
Yet, we believe, in normal time, that encouraging children to come with us to the meeting and to provide good quality Bible teaching for them is crucial. We want them to see that worship is a priority for us. We want them to have every opportunity to come to faith in Christ. That is no less important now than before the lockdown.
So, first of all, I would encourage parents to gather the family to join the Zoom call or watch YouTube together. They may not follow everything but you may be surprised on how much they pick up and also they get to see how valuable it is to you.
Secondly, we as church leaders need to make sure that what we provide is engaging for the whole family. I don’t mean that we dumb down our services, if we do we will probably still fail to reach the children. However, just as we should on a normal Sunday morning, those of us leading should think about how children are included and make sure that we talk to everyone.
Thirdly, we need to prioritise providing good quality Bible teaching for children just as we would on a normal Sunday. For some churches this has meant moving to using all-age worship each week online so that families know to expect that and can join in knowing that it won’t be over the kids’ heads at any point.
Others have provided specialised teaching content for the children, just as they normally do. We have taken that approach and provide worksheets for children alongside some short videos of Bible stories. Now some churches have all the technology and expertise to do some incredible TV standard stuff for kids. Most of us do not. We are constrained to having one of our team read a story or in a few cases acting out the story with the help of cuddly toy friends (including a 3 foot high dinosaur called Parky). The important thing as always is that our love for Christ and for the families shines through in all we say and do.
We also have an opportunity during home schooling to integrate faith and God’s word into the whole of our children’s life. One small and maybe lighter way we do this is #PraiseAndPE. We finish each Morning Prayer with a lively worship song that you can sing along to and keep fit too.
How is your church encouraging children to be involved during lockdown?