Being part of a new church start can carry a unique set of concerns. One of those is how our children will be impacted by an initial lack of structured children’s activities. While many church planters remember growing up in thriving children and youth ministry programs, most new churches begin with only a handful of children. Deciding how to incorporate children into the life of the new church can be a challenging task. Do you separate the children and teach them based on their age/grade level? Or do you find ways to engage them as part of the larger group?
We have done some of both at The Well. Whenever possible, we have incorporated children into the larger life of our church. Children read scripture, participate and serve communion, share art, help with mission projects and eat meals with the larger group. At times, we also provide age appropriate activities in a separate space. We are convinced that children need both opportunities for their formation. They need stories from scripture told on their level of understanding, and they also need to see the stories alive in their community of faith.
Along the way, we have found some resources helpful in shaping the way we care for, teach, and include children in the life of our new church start. Here are a few that you may find helpful, and that work well for smaller congregations:
CBF Resources for Ministry to Children – A variety of resources including articles, books and curriculum that can provide guidance in ministering to children.
Worshiping with Children – a blog with ideas on how to include children in worship using the lectionary
Whole People of God – Children’s ministry curriculum that is based on church size and can be easily accessed, downloaded and shared.
We would love to hear how you are addressing the needs of children in your church start.
What resources have you found helpful?
What ideas can you share?
What have you learned along the way that can be helpful for those just starting out?