I love hearing about how our church communities celebrated Easter this year. It’s encouraging knowing that the powerful message of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is being told to our children, that through that story they have a chance to encounter God’s unconditional and sacrificial love for them.
Recently Ryan Marthinsen, the Pastor of Family Ministries at Queensway Baptist Church in Brantford, shared with me an amazing account of their Easter Family Worship service they had on Palm Sunday. That morning they had no formal children’s program other than their nursery which was open and available to families. Instead of a traditional children’s program they chose instead to integrate their children into the main morning service. They turned their seats and set up their chairs in the sanctuary in a round circle leaving a space in the center for the events of the morning to take place. It is so encouraging to hear of church communities who value intergenerational worship and who prioritize creating opportunities for all members of their church community to learn and grow together.
Queensway Baptist told the morning message through a “theatre in the round” style three-part drama performed in the middle of their sanctuary. Their drama was themed around Jesus’ words from the cross “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. This three- part drama was performed by both children and adults and created a beautiful intergenerational Easter experience.
Between each of the three acts the Queensway community was led in worship by the Sr. High youth worship team. What Queensway has done so well is that their Sr. High Worship Team leads their congregation in worship on the fourth Sunday of every month. Their youth are an integral part of their community and specifically their worship team. One of the songs that morning was accompanied by a video that is used regularly in the children’s ministry program and in the summer months for VBS. Providing a song that was familiar to the children allowed them the opportunity to not only fully participate but also to show their parents the actions that accompanied the song which were shown in the video.
The service concluded with a time of response and prayer whereby prayers were offered to God through the tying of ribbon onto a wire cylinder. The offering of prayers through the tying of ribbon is something done frequently in the children’s program at Queensway and so this allowed yet another opportunity for parents to learn from their children as they led their parents in this time of worship and response. Everyone was then invited to lay hands on the cylinder as they prayed and lifted all their prayers up to God.
Making prayer practical for our children can be instrumental in the development of their spiritual journey and their relationship with God. Incorporating a physical activity that has symbolic meaning allows children to attach an abstract concept to a concrete object or action. Prayer then for these children is not simply talking to God it’s about giving something away and lifting it up to God. It’s a beautiful reminder to give God our worries and our fears and also a great reminder to send our praise up to him.
If you have any wonderful ideas that have worked well in your church community with you parents and children e-mail Kaitlyn Kirkwood at firstname.lastname@example.org to share what’s working well for you!