Connecting children with the church community
One of the most commonly reported frustrations in children's ministry at the moment is how difficult it is to help children feel connected with the wider church community.
This is really challenging because of all of the ongoing and ever-changing restrictions around running children's church groups, but also because many Christian families do not engage with church online. So, how can we replicate the feeling of church community amidst all of these restrictions? Here are some things that you could try, to help children feel part of the wider church family:
- Help them to explicitly see ways in which the church family love and support one another - include the children in encouraging messages, cards, notes, acts of kindness etc.
- Enable them to explore the Bible alongside others in the church family, through short zoom age appropriate Bible study sessions, church challenges, adults and children alike posting short videos on church communications about their favourite Bible verse at the moment. Also provide safe and comfortable pathways for them to ask questions and discuss difficult faith-based issues.
- Foster role models of faith by allowing children to see adults worshipping, praying and sharing testimonies. This will let them see a living, vibrant and relevant faith in others, which will have a huge impact on their own spiritual growth. This could happen in all age services, or child-friendly segments of services. Recording testimonies or Bible readings from church members and playing these in children's sessions also works really well. Doorstep visits to children by church members can also be really effective (where possible within local restrictions), and offering shorts prayers for them could be really encouraging and affirming.
- Allow them to be part of the church's prayer activities and networks, so that they can share prayer requests and also pray for the needs of others.
- Provide them with opportunities to serve, for example writing cards or drawing pictures to deliver to local care homes, fundraising for the food bank etc, or supporting older children in the group to plan an event such as an Advent treasure hunt in the local area.
Incorporating some of these ideas into your church ministry will help children to see and feel a part of your church community.