Children & Worship
Children & Worship is a children’s program offered by the Church of the Covenant most Sunday mornings during the Sunday morning service of worship. Children (ages 2-1/2 to 8 years old or older) are invited to leave the worship service before the community prayers. A volunteer, called a Greeter, leads the children upstairs to the Children’s Worship Room where a Story Teller is prepared to receive the children and enter into worship with them and the Greeter.
Kaye Edwards with children in a Children’s Worship Room
- A Montessori-influenced program
- An exciting way of approaching spiritual formation with young children
- Gives children the opportunity to hear Bible stories and form responses out of their own life experiences
- Children learn the meaning of church traditions and participate in worship practices (Young Children and Worship, Introduction)
According to the Introduction of the book, Young Children and Worship, children already have a relationship with God. If we accept this statement, then we no longer should assume that we (as adults) have to teach children everything they need to know about God. Children & Worship provides an opportunity for children and adults to worship and learn about God together.
In the Children & Worship program, the stories are told in a slow, calm manner and with as few words as possible, so children can enter into the stories. In this way, children have time to wonder about the biblical stories, and are able to connect the stories to their own life experiences. In Children & Worship, children have the quiet time required to glean from the stories of God and God’s people the particular insights they need in their lives. When we recognize children as spiritual beings and respect them as such, we can give up the urge to turn every biblical story into a moral lesson. We can trust that “the story” really is enough. Worshiping, not teaching, is the major focus.
The Ark and the Tent for God
In the Children’s Worship Center, children are given opportunities to worship God in uniquely meaningful and developmentally appropriate ways. Very young children are invited into Children & Worship because we recognize that children are able to experience God long before they develop verbal expression. In Children & Worship, children are encouraged to express their response to God through a variety of materials: art, journals, books, puzzles, and working with the sacred story materials. They have opportunities to use all of their senses and motor skills.
As adults, we need to be about providing safe, beautiful spaces in which children can deepen their relationship with God. As adults, we need to provide opportunities for children to learn the language of faith and develop the tools (such as listening to the still, small voice inside of them) for deepening their relationship with God.
Children & Worship does not teach about God. In Children Worship & Wonder children do theology. That is, they learn about God while experiencing the presence of God.
Boys with a desert sand box
Characteristics of the program:
- Respect of Children – This program recognizes that even very young children are spiritual beings who already have a relationship with God. In Young Children and Worship, children are not seen as empty vessels for us (adults) to fill with our understanding of God. Adults are guides who offer space, tools, and language which help children deepen their already-existing relationship with God. In this program, we trust that given the opportunity, children will bring their own life experiences to the stories of God and will receive what they need.
- Encouragement of Imagination – There is not enough time and space in today’s world for children to use their wonderful imaginations. Television, videos, and computer games rarely encourage children to call upon their own creative possibilities. There are too few places for children to learn about the gifts of quiet and solitude. Churches are uniquely equipped to offer these gifts.
- Developmentally Appropriate – Children & Worship allows children to use all of their senses and motor skills. It includes lots of repetition and lots of ritual – which children love.
- Children Learn about God while Being in God’s Presence* – Children & Worship is worship. It is a chance for adults and children to worship together in a way that is meaningful for both.
- Numbers do not Matter – This program can be done with one child or twenty children.
By participating in Children & Worship, you are helping your children to not only trust their innate understanding of God, but to also learn how to build and live in community.
Periodically, children will remain for worship with adults. Children are invited to participate in communion, if they are present on the first Sunday of the month.