There are lots of resources you can offer parents to help their kids engage in a family worship service (find some in the resource list at the bottom of this post), but as a ministry leader, there are lots of things YOU can do to make a family worship service engaging for all ages too. Here are 5 practical tips for hosting a family worship service:

  1. Remember it’s a team effort. Effective family worship services involve more than just you as the children’s pastor. Your senior pastor and worship leaders have to be on board too. Have a conversation with your senior pastor and share your vision and your heart with him or her. Talk about your ideas and what he or she is comfortable pursuing. Make a list of the top 3 things you’d like to see, then share with him/her and ask how you as a staff can work together to make it a great experience for the families who walk through your doors. When bringing ideas to the team for kid-friendly adjustments, pose the ideas as questions to help other staff members be part of the brainstorming and take ownership of the kid-friendly elements of the service too. “Since we will have kids together in the service, do you have any thoughts on how we can help kids feel welcome?” Let the senior pastor guide the conversation, and offer your input as you go.
  2. Communicate with parents. Just as this might be new for you and your staff, family services might be new to the parents in your ministry too. Take time before the family services start to communicate with your parents about what the service will look like and how you can partner with them and support their kids. Send emails, schedule social media posts, host a Q&A session, and post signs or cards within your physical worship space (see our free fidget-friendly zone signs here). Ease parents’ fears by letting them know they (and their little ones) are welcome and wanted in your family service.
  3. Consider adjusting the flow of the service. What aspects of a child’s experience from children’s ministry can you pull into the family service? This provides some sense of familiarity for kids. Put people kids know and recognize on stage, and consider changing one of the worship songs to a song the kids know and love. Maybe your pastor shortens his sermon time by a few minutes to adjust for shorter attention spans in the audience. Even having the pastor acknowledge kids’ presence from the stage can make kids feel welcome!
  4. Use your technology. Whether it’s putting pictures up on the screen throughout the sermon or using videos during transition times, changing the visuals of what kids look at helps them re-engage. It’s also a great way to have a little fun with your families! On-screen games make the perfect countdown to the beginning of a service or a really fun introduction element in a family worship service. 
  5. Be patient and give grace. 2020 has been a tough year for all of us. And family worship services might be new to your families, your team, and your staff. Be patient when trying new ideas in family worship, and give your parents, your pastor, and yourself a lot of grace as you experiment with a new format for Sunday mornings. It will take time for everyone to adjust and embrace this incredible opportunity for families to worship together.

Want to dive deeper into these ideas and learn how to practically apply them to your ministry? Consider registering for our online ministry training all about including, not just occupying, kids in a family service! Learn more here

Looking for other resources for hosting a family worship service? Check out some of these:

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