Explaining Compassion and Justice to Kids

Social justice is a “trendy phrase” in the church.  But equipping the church to be mindful of the ways God calls us to faithfully live out biblical justice is so much more than an idea or catchy phrase to say.  Here are just a few of the ways we explain what it means to be on ‘mission with God’missional, and how we explain compassion and justice.

How we engage “Mission” with kids

At Quest Kids we are all about loving God, loving other people, and loving God’s world. Each of us can be a missionary in our own community. We have been given the special mission of sharing God’s love and shining God’s light in our schools and neighborhoods.  As disciples of Jesus, Jesus followers, we are invited to live as Jesus lived, love as Jesus loved, and share the good news of Jesus love with the people around us.  Really it is about participating in the work that God is already doing in the world- in our neighborhoods, schools, families, communities and everywhere.

Idea #1: Kids following God’s mission

We have friends around the world who are also following God’s mission. They are loving Jesus and sharing God’s love in their own communities!  We can ask God how he wants us to love people in our communities well.

Idea #2: What is God’s mission?

“To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love.” – David J. Bosch in Transforming Mission

Idea #3: What does it mean to have compassion?

Having compassion is caring about people who are hurting.  We are aware of other people’s stories and pain or needs.  We are empathetic toward theirs stories, needs, or pains.

Think of this as a day-to-day question: What helps right now?

 Idea #4: What would justice look like for this group of people I am supporting?

Justice is asking what systems are creating the thing that is hurting people.

Think of this as a long-term question: What would help ten years down the road not have this problem anymore?

Idea #5: Other ways Quest Kids are “Kids Following God’s Mission”

  • We give to others. Our weekly offering goes to Covenant World Relief children’s projects.
  • We make friends with other kids following God’s mission around the world (Global Mission Partners)
  • We serve others.
  • We help our homeless friends in the community by making and giving out blessing bags.

What ways does your family follow the mission of God?

Scripture that remind us to in God’s mission, and not be on mission by ourselves!

indigenous people’s day

It’s Indigenous People’s Day today. Some of you may know it by it’s former name.  Columbus Day.  Maybe you were like me and you were told a piece of the story growing up.  You know, the part of the story where a brave man named Christopher Columbus discovered this land called “the americas”? Well, I finally put two and two together and realized that all those stories in my childhood of native people’s having their land taken from them, and Columbus were actually one and the same story, but with many half truths, lies, and some very important details taken out.  I finally realized that the land Columbus discovered and Europeans eventually took over, was the land that indigenous people had been living on and thriving in for hundreds if not thousands of years.  The conversations with my parents, about their generations’ games played like, “cowboys and indians”…it didn’t dawn on me how brutal and thoughtless those games were.  How did this get missed? [This one’s on my reading list.] But now I know and I can’t go back.  So here are a few things I’m committing to today [as in, for life].

  • If my kids watch Peter Pan, we will make sure to talk about the stereotypes of Native children also known as “lost boys” in the story.  We will talk about real chiefs and real indigenous female leaders.
  • We will not wear Native American clothing as “costumes”.  So that cute outfit my mom made for my daughter’s dress-up?  It resembles Native American clothing, of some time period (I’m not sure exactly) and if my daughter chooses to wear it, she will know what she’s wearing and whose story it belongs too.  She will hear about Native people’s in our own neighborhood and community.
  • We will be careful to not take tribal designs (clothing, textiles, handbags, jewelry) and claim them as our own.  We will honor them for whose they are and whose story they tell. That’s called cultural appropriation.
  • We watch this, and are amazed by the art of Matika Wilbur.
  • I will tell the stories of children of Native American/First Nations communities and the schools they were forced to attend, so when my kids hear about the challenges of life on the Reservations they will know that these communities have faced many hardships- generations of families broken apart, lack of systems that support, and emotional and psychological trauma that exceeds anything my children will probably ever face.
  • We will commit ourselves to seeing the beauty of creation that God made, and seeing the beauty of indigenous people’s cultures and traditions that keep them rooted in their identity.
  • We will read books, and books by Indigenous authors, not just books about “Native Americans” by non-native authors. Check out this list to start.
  • I will remember Richard Twiss and Wiconi International and pray for the ministry of Corey Greaves and Mending Wings.  I will thank my friend Lenore Three Stars for her wisdom and writing.
  • I will choose not to ignore the #NoDAPL.  Watch this.

It is Indigenous People’s Day.  But every day is a day for all people to be fully and completely themselves including indigenous people in this country.

Quest Kids Vision and Purpose Statement

The 30,000 foot view of ministry to kids in a multi-ethnic church in Seattle, WA.

Our Kids and Family Ministry has evolved over the past 13 years.  Each year we reflect [briefly] on our vision and mission.  Because it is based off the larger church vision and mission, it doesn’t change too much!

We seek to Love God. Love Other People. Love God’s World. 

This was recently re-written to reflect our current ministry.

Purpose & Values

Quest Kids is a multi-ethnic, all abilities, and intergenerational ministry to and with children.  We seek to journey together to be transformed by God’s Spirit as we follow Jesus and grow in discipleship.  We are a diverse body; each created in God’s image and designed to worship God and be valued; to have a place and presence in the church community.

We believe that a child’s spiritual formation begins at home, and that it is the role of the church to assist parents/guardians in raising children to know and live for God. We are committed to each child’s spiritual growth throughout all aspects of our ministry. We provide a safe, nurturing environment with a structure of safety policies and volunteer accountability.

Through music, Scripture, prayer, fun and relationships, we hope to ignite a deep love for Christ in each child we serve.  In teaching the message of God’s love, salvation through Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we help kids recognize their place in the big God Story.  Quest Kids seek to love God, love other people and pursue reconciliation in the world.

Getting Leaders Ready to Serve in KidMin

wood-top-keys-lockOne of the [many] keys to successfully keeping volunteer leaders involved in ministry with children and families is appropriate training.  First, we INSPIRE them to serve.  Then we EQUIP them to lead.  Lastly, we DEVELOP leaders (I am still learning how to do the last one well!)

Here is how we set our volunteer leaders up for success in Quest Kids:

ONE on ONE Meeting with Pastor or Director- 30-60 minutes

They are a person first, and we just want to be in relationship and know one another.  This takes a lot of time, but is well-worth the investment.


Leader Orientation is a one hour meeting to review the Leader Handbook with all new volunteers.  This is a required training for all leaders, but if someone absolutely cannot make it to an evening or Sunday training, we send the handbook home with them and have them return a “Read Receipt”.


It is a great idea to let a new leader shadow in a specific classroom or age group before they commit to it.  Also, pairing them with a seasoned ministry leader is a good idea if you can.  We have created a simple, one page leader guide for each of our classrooms that reminds leaders of their roles (i.e. diaper changing, prepping/serving snacks, where to access the volunteer schedule or Bible lessons, and Sunday morning schedule, etc.).  This ensures all leaders are getting the same information as they begin serving with a specific age group.

- 3 hours

Keeping Kids Safe is our Child Abuse Prevention and Safety Training offered several times each year.  This is a required training for all KidMin leaders, done at their earliest convenience (within first year of volunteering).  KKS dates are announced several months in advance of the training.

ALL LEADER GATHERING- 90-120 minutes

Once every 12-18 months we hold an all leader gathering for visioning, prayer, and encouragement of our Quest Kids Team.  All KidMin leaders are strongly encouraged to attend this event.

Creating Family Ministry Safety Policies


We have created several policies for children and family ministry over the years.  Here is a checklist of important policies every church should have, be working on, or at least planning for.  We recommend consulting your churches lawyer, insurance agent or other safety professional already connected to your church community.

  • Volunteer Leader Handbook for Kids Ministry and/or Youth Ministry- both should have their own!
  • Volunteer Leader Handbook- version for the youth involved in Kids Ministry
  • Health & Wellness (Sick) Policy
  • Allergy Policy
  • Photo/Video Permission
  • Emergency Procedures- Church evacuation plan, earthquake, fire, etc.
  • Child Abuse Prevention Policy

We give every new volunteer a Leader Handbook, ask them to read it and sign the last page and return it to us.  Most of our volunteers are able to make it to our New Leader Orientation offered monthly, but at the very least they are all getting the handbook and learning important information about the ministry vision, volunteer expectations, policies, and reporting procedures.

If you would like to preview a sample of our church’s policies, please email childrensministry@seattlequest.org



Teaching Children About Race: Parent Resource

This is a resource we created for Quest Kids and Family Ministry

“When I walked into the classroom, the kids were seated at their desks, eager to get started with the special presentation.  After the teacher introduced me, I handed a puzzle piece to each student in the class.  As I began my spiel about how diversity is like a puzzle, I noticed that the children in the back of the class were busily working on something rather than paying attention to me.  They chattered with excitement as they passed objects back and forth between them. 

 I asked what they were doing, and they announced, “We’re putting it together!” When I asked them why, they said, “It’s a puzzle.  The pieces are supposed to go together.   It doesn’t make any sense if we don’t put all our pieces together.”

Standing in the classroom, I realized that these children from different backgrounds were teaching me.  They didn’t need instruction about the importance of coming together, they instinctively knew that our individual pieces “don’t make sense” unless they come together with other pieces of different shapes, sizes and colors.  They understood that they were interdependent, and they eagerly collaborated with each other so they could see the bigger picture.  To do anything less just wouldn’t have made sense.”

pg 85, A Credible Witness, Brenda Salter McNeil

Moms & Dads, Caregivers and Grandparents: A Credible Witness is a great read, among many other book & resources suggestions here!

Ephesians 2:14

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”

Galatians 3:26-28,

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

What is racism?

  • The practice of discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance of another race based on the belief that claims to find racial difference in character, intelligence, morality
  • The assertion of the superiority of one race over another.

Is it our goal to teach children to be colorblind?

  • Being colorblind means to not attach value to color.
  • It is confusing to tell our kids not to see our color differences.
  • The will see color.
  • We need to teach our children not to make value judgments about people based on their color.

How can we accomplish this with our children?

Be disciples to our children

  • Pray for God’s kingdom- it is multiethnic, multinational, and multilingual.  Our goal is to point children towards Christ’s kingdom.
  • Interact with anyone who is different.
  • Encourage our children to play with children from different races.

Be models of Reconciliation

  • Parents are to be aware of your own subtle disparities.
  • What you say and how you behave toward those of another race will shape your children.
  • Be models of reconciliation.

Get out of our comfort zone

  • Interact with people who are different.
  • Let your kids play with kids from different races.
  • Lead children to appreciate and learn from our differences.
  • Help children to value others.

Take Active Steps

  • Expose your children to different cultures.  Learn about their foods, festivals, costumes, language and games.
  • Encourage your child to invite someone racially different over to play.
  • Never make jokes about other races.
  • Reach out to people who are of a different race than you.
  • Extend an invitation to your home for a meal, or to church to worship together
  • Get to know other people’s stories.  Learn about who they are, where they are from, and what they love.

More active steps

  • Teach your child about his/her own ethnic heritage.
  • Help them to recognize their own diversities even within the race.
  • Affirm children’s ethnic heritage.
  • Encourage schools and church to teach racial reconciliation.
  • Find multiethnic media- public library and websites, etc.
  • If our parents or grandparents say a racist joke, have the courage to say, “I don’t believe that’s the best Christian approach.”
  • We can tell our children that Grandpa was wrong for telling ugly jokes: “I hope you’ll never make remarks like that.  Grandpa grew up in a time when many people were prejudiced against other races.  These are wrong attitudes.”

The most common misconception about racial identity?

  • People are afraid that racial reconciliation means sameness.  They think they have to give up who they are.
  • Christians think that because we do not harbor prejudice or act bitter, that people will just want to be with us.  We have to reach out to invite others into genuine, caring, and authentic relationships.  People will know if it isn’t real, so don’t force it!



Listening to Reconciliation Voices

Last year, I felt God whisper to me in one of my inward moments of self-reflection.  I was having a conversation with God about the meaning and purpose of some of my deepest hopes and dreams- that are not currently reality. God whispered,

it is not what you have to say that others need to hear, it is what others have to say that YOU need to hear.

I spent the early part of 2014 asking God,

what am I listening for?

It was only this December, when school was over, the Christmas tree had been taken down, after months of lamenting Michael Brown, and wondering what God was asking me to do in response to the brokenness I and my community were struggling through, as I was preparing to spend some time listening for a new word or theme for 2015.  This thought dawned on me, (I am slow sometimes!) my place in the work of reconciliation, begins with this very idea: listen to those around you.  I have spent my life listening only to certain voices. Those that tell me I am a child of God. Those that tell me that all people are equal in God’s eyes. Those that tell me that I should feel bad about what happens to people of color in my community, but I can’t really do anything about it. Those that tell me that reconciliation is only possible when Jesus comes again.  Those that tell me it’s not my problem.  Not all those voices have been good.

In reconciliation work, I must first take a posture of listening.

The voices to whom I listen to, matter.  I am continually reflecting on my role and responsibility in the work of reconciliation in my family and community context.  I desire to be more deeply connected to what God’s word says about reconciliation, identity and being the family of God. This is an area where I need to grow, to focus, and to pay attention. I study and dialogue and engage; taking faithful and brave steps to be involved in God’s work of reconciliation in my neighborhood, community and even world (that sounds big, because it is!).

It can be as simple as pointing other people to credible witnesses in our communities that are important voices which need to be elevated.  So this is what I do.  I share the men and women I am learning from, inspired by, and listening to.

Whose voices are you listening to, learning from and encouraged by?  What steps are you taking to resist the urge to ignore our communities needs for confession, repentance and restored relationships between cultures?

Change the Narrative: With Books

How do we help our kids seek to love other people, no matter what?  It begins by changing the narrative in our home.  If this thought overwhelms you, try some books.  Reading opens doors for conversations, thoughts and ideas.  Reading gives us opportunities to learn new things about people who are different than us.  We can change the narrative with books.  Start while your kids are young. Here are a list of Quest favorites and some websites to do your own exploring.

Everybody Cooks Rice  Dooley, Norah
My Family  Kinkade, Sheila
Black, White, Just Right   Davol, Marguerite W.
I’m Like You, You’re Like Me – A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other  Gainer, Cindy
Every Child Everywhere!  Anderson, Debby
God Knows My Name Anderson, Debby
God’s Dream and Children of God Storybook Bible Tutu, Desmond
Shades of People Rotner, Shelley
The Skin You Live In  Tyler, Michael
The Colors of Us  Katz, Karen
All Kinds of Children  Simon, Norma
These Hands  Mason, Margaret H.
Boycott Blues – How Rosa Parks Inspired a Nation Pinkney, Andrea Davis
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match  Brown, Monica
My People and I, Too, Am America Hughes, Langston
I Love Saturdays Y Domingos   Ada, Alma Flor
I Am Latino: The Beauty in Me  Pinkney, Sandra L.
The Other Side   Woodson, Jacqueline
Efraín of the Sonoran Desert – A Lizard’s Life Among the Seri Indians  Astorga, Amalia
Dear Juno  Pak, Soyung
Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding  Look, Lenore
Horace  Keller, Holly
Pablo’s Tree  Mora, Pat
Star of the Week – A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies With Sprinkles  Friedman, Darlene
My Two Grannies  Benjamin, Floella
Black Is Brown Is Tan  Adoff, Arnold
Separate Is Never Equal Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation  Tonatiuh, Duncan
Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence  Woelfle, Gretchen
I Am Mixed Beauvais, Garcelle
I Am Your Peanut Butter Big Brother  Alko, Selina
With Books and Bricks: How Booker T. Washington Built A School  Slade, Suzanne
I Am An American: A True Story of Japanese Internment  Stanley, Jerry
We’re Different, We’re the Same (Sesame Street)  Kates, Bobbi
Dumpling Soup Rattigan, Jama Kim
Mama, Do You Love Me?   Joosse, Barbara M.
My Parts Equal Me! Beverly C. Heath
Please, Baby, Please!  Lee, Spike
Peace is an Offering, Annette LeBox

Childrens Books Infographic 2015

websites for more ideas


Why Reconciliation and Family Ministry?

Two things in ministry have deeply impacted my life and calling as a pastor to kids and families.  I feel a deep sense of personal conviction to Reconciliation and Family Ministry.

Art Easter 5AMy journey of reconciliation began in my first year in college.  I was 17, excited to leave home and discover what God had planned for my life.  I took courses my freshman year that turned my life upside down and shifted my whole perspective on culture, faith and ministry. I was suddenly face to face with Jesus, in the midst of personal pain and trial, feeling called to global and urban cross-cultural ministry.  Through God’s nudging, my tripping, and the prodding of people who loved me, I developed a new lens by which to view my faith in light of God’s multi-cultural kingdom.  I took steps forward and began a new season of listening and learning and responding.  I developed an awareness of privilege and power and discovered in new ways Jesus’ love of the poor and marginalized in our world.  It was a time to pay attention to the world around me and be attuned to God’s work- reconciling, redeeming and transforming people.  I noticed this in friendships, through listening to other people’s stories; in what I read, in the conversations I had, in the people and places I felt called to serve.

As I sought to live into this new perspective I found my self developing new relationships with people who were different than me; involved in homeless ministry; getting to know my city in new ways, exploring churches and discovering the rich cultural diversity of Seattle; leading a campus worship ministry; serving in inner city Philadelphia, traveling to the Yucatan to learn and serve alongside the people of Merida, Mexico.  In this season I met my husband and got to know his bi-cultural Lebanese and Dutch family.  Along the way I learned a lot about myself, my family and heritage, and my own identity as a white female who was called to multi-ethnic children’s ministry.  What I began learning about myself and others so many years ago, I am still learning.

Faith in my youth years was about personal devotion time, faithfully attending church, participating in worship and serving my church and community.  It was about praying and reading the Bible and memorizing scripture and telling others about Jesus.  All good things.  Overtime though I have seen that all these things- apart from understanding God’s work of reconciliation in my life and our call, as believers, to the ministry of reconciliation- had meant my faith was about me.  It was individual and in many ways self-gratifying.  If I do the right things, say the right things, pray the right prayers, I’ll be good with God.  But if I am truly following Jesus, then I will be not only spending quiet time with God in the early hours of the morning, and participating in the life of the Church every week, but I will be seeking out ways to love those our society rejects, to clothe the poor and feed the hungry, to give shelter to the homeless and seek the welfare of our city.  I will be speaking out against the injustices of our culture- these are things that Jesus did and I want to follow his footsteps.  This is radical kingdom faith that is not only about my personal relationship with Jesus, but my faithfulness and obedience to a life of radical kingdom living.

Reconciliation is a transforming journey of confession and forgiveness with God and between people that restores broken relationships, social structures and systems.

This is the life of devotion I have been invited in to.  And so I began asking new questions. What does it mean to trust God when there is no hope? What does faith look like in the face of cancer?  How can I walk along side brothers and sisters of color who face micro-agression, racism, and prejudice daily? What does it mean to truly listen to someone and love them as Jesus would? How do I offer a Jesus-size measure of compassion, mercy and justice in the world? How can I praise God joyfully and still lament with others when confronted with pain, loss, violence, abuse, issues social injustice, racism, and human trafficking?  What does it mean to have a teachable spirit? What bold, brave and courageous steps is God calling me to, as I seek to be faithful to God’s mission in the world- to see all of creation redeemed, restored and made new?  What am I to stand up for, who am I to stand in solidarity with?  How can I be a better listener?  Whose story am I invited into- to hold with dignity, value and worth?  These questions have formed me, and continue to be a part of my journey of transformation.

This transformational faith is simply about reconciliation with God and reconciliation with others. God invites us into a personal relationship with Him, be we are also invited into the Covenant community of God.  This is holy ground. Mercy, compassion and justice are foundational in this place.  So how do I live it, teach it, preach it?  I am reconciled, and I am called to be a reconciler in the world.  This is both terrifying, humbling and awe-some.

Family Ministry is my jam. I love working with kids.  But I do not do kids ministry in a silo.  Not only do kids need a village of people surrounding them, the village needs our kids.  We know that parents are the primary influence on a child’s faith, and that faith that sticks in a child’s life is faith developed in community.  I dream of the day that children are seen as full participants in the church.  As I have learned over the years, my job is to teach kids, but more than that I believe we are called to create space for kids to learn about and explore their faith.  They practice worship expressions and they “do/live/experience” worship, they ask questions, they provide thoughtful answers to questions.  They play, they laugh, they cry, they sing and pray.  They struggle.  They have hope.  Family ministry is about laying a firm foundation and allowing kids to experience their faith in the safety of the church community, and go out into the world to practice it and live it out.

I also am called to the multi-ethnic or multicultural church.  I see the multi-ethnic church as  joyful expression of God’s love for the world and the Church.  We more fully reflect God’s kingdom when we worship God together- all ages, all ethnicities, all abilities.  This is the beauty and gift of the family of God.  There are many barriers in the US to multiethnic ministry, but Jesus came to break down those barriers.  Jesus is our role model in this.  Jesus did not only heal the most faithful, Jesus did not only teach the teachable, Jesus did not only minister to the religious people.  Jesus loved those whom no one else wanted to love.  Jesus invited the “sinners” to a life transformed.  Jesus praised the sacrifices of those who had little.  Jesus reached out to the poor and called them faithful.  Jesus honored the faith of those who genuinely desired to believe, even when they struggled to believe.  Jesus broke down cultural, social, ethnic, gender and ability barriers.  Jesus invites us to follow Him.

If we are to follow Jesus, then reconciliation must be woven into the fabric of children, youth and family ministry.  What it means to be reconciled to God and the people must be taught, practiced and lived out in our homes and churches. Intentional conversations, awareness of our cultural identity and faith identity, how we treat other people, how we grow and learn from those who are different than us, how we listen and give dignity to people’s lives and stories, and the ways we live out the gospel; all of these are transformational and faith shaping.  I am learning how to be a practitioner of these things.

My hope and prayer is to see children and families wholly reconciled to God and other people, participating in the whole mission of the church; as a community sent by God.

Including Kids in Worship

Children are an important part of the body of Christ.  We believe children are not the church of the future, they are the church of today.  A child’s place in the church should be acknowledged and his or her presence valued.  We must lead the children, but we can also learn from them.

In Matthew 18:2-5 we read, “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me’.”

Jesus said in Mark 10:14, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”

God designed all of his creation to worship him, Psalm 8:2, “Out of the mouths of infants and children, you have ordained praise.”

God instructed Israel, as a whole community in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

Simply acknowledging God’s presence in our daily life and modeling a life of worship is a greater example to our children of our faith in Christ than our words could ever be alone. But how do we do “church” together”?  We invite kids in.  We let them sing, sit, observe, respectfully ask questions, and we talk them through what they see, hear, and feel.  We help them feel included by teaching them the songs we sing, letting them put the tithe in the offering basket, participate in communion or receiving a blessing. No one says this will be easy.  Kids are noisy, they stir and move and rustle, they speak too loudly during quiet parts of worship, they need to go the bathroom or get a drink of water at the most inconvenient moment.  They cry as if on cue during silence or hide under the chair of the person next to them, complain of worship being too loud or not knowing the words.

“Part of your duty as a parent is to spend a few years sacrificing your own quality of worship so that you can teach your little ones to worship”- Elizabeth Sandell


Tips for parents as you prepare for worship:

  • Make the “decisions” Saturday night: the decision to attend worship, the decision to get up at a certain time; decisions of what to wear and have for breakfast, what you need to bring with you.  This will help Sunday mornings run a little more smoothly.
  • Talk to your child about what to expect at church the night before, let them know where you will be and what you will be doing.
  • Arrive just a few minutes early so your child can be a part of the beginning of the service.
  • Find a seat in the sanctuary where your child can see, but is also comfortable and will not be too disruptive (for your sake) when the move around (they will move around!).
  • Give your child an opportunity to use the restroom, get a drink of water before service begins.
  • Help your child understand.  It is okay to whisper quietly to your child about what is going on or what is coming next.
  • Model prayer, singing, closing your eyes and clapping with and for your child.  It is good for your child to notice the different ways people express themselves in worship at church.
  • Do not assume that your child is not gaining anything from the service if they appear to be bored or not paying attention.  We do not always know what the Holy Spirit is doing in a child’s heart.
  • Sometimes a move to the back of the sanctuary or a trip to the drinking fountain helps a child re-focus by stretching their legs and moving their body their mind and body can be ready to participate again.
  • Talk with your child after service about the things they saw, what they observed or thought about the service.  Ask you child what was their favorite part, or what was most difficult for them.  You can even ask them what God spoke to them during the service or how did they see/feel God’s presence.
  • Pray for you child and their friends; that God will speak to them during the service.  Encourage your children to listen for God’s voice.
  • Allow your child to participate in communion (see our “how to prepare for communion” ideas!) either by taking communion with you or receiving a prayer of blessing from a pastor.  Remind your child what communion is and why we do it.