Our Church Family Welcomes Children in Worship
A Guide for Parents and Congregation
“Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children.” —Mark 10:14
Children are valued and nurtured here at Potomac Presbyterian Church. The congregation makes a commitment at baptisms to help children grow in faith—and that includes learning to worship. Perhaps children don’t always understand what is going on or what is being said, but they can understand that the sanctuary is a place where they are loved, welcomed, and needed.
Worship is an excellent opportunity to provide spiritual nurture for children. Parents can explain what is happening. They can share enthusiasm and happiness about being in worship with their children. Congregation members can assist children and their parents with a warm welcome, patience, and encouragement.
Suggestions for the Congregation
Here are a few suggestions of how you can help nurture children in their faith during worship:
- Smile! A smile can help children and their families feel welcome in worship.
- Take time to greet children before and after worship and at the Passing of the Peace.
- Invite a child you know to sit with you on occasion.
- Be understanding when parents need to take their children out of the sanctuary and when they return.
- Compliment parents and children who have participated in worship.
- Have patience with some wiggling and scribbling by the youngest of God’s children!
- Enjoy the presence of children in God’s house.
Suggestions for Parents of Young Children
Children are always welcome in God’s house! Here are a few suggestions to make worship a meaningful experience for your family:
- Relax! God put wiggles in children— don’t feel you have to suppress them in God’s house.
- Receive a worship bag and children’s bulletin from the usher for your child. Feel free to bring items from home.
- Sit toward the front where it is easier to see and hear.
- Use a gentle touch—an arm around your child’s shoulder, your hands in his/hers—to give reassurance and appropriate attention.
- Quietly explain the parts of the service. Sing the hymns, pray, voice the response. Children learn from copying others.
- Help your child find the pages in the hymnal and Bible. Follow along with your finger on the page.
- Encourage your child to come forward for the “Time for Young Disciples.” Feel free to accompany your child until he or she becomes comfortable coming forward.
To assist families in worshiping together:
- Children’s bulletins are available from the ushers,
- Activities bags are available on the wooden cart in the narthex,
- A children’s play are is available in Fellowship Hall where the service is live-streamed,
- and a nursery is available downstairs for parents with infants and toddlers.
On the first, second, third, and fifth Sundays of the month, children age 3 through second grade are also welcome downstairs for their own Children’s Worship program following “A Time for Young Disciples” in worship. Children continue their worship through Bible storytelling, games, song, and creative activities.
Families on the Fourth Sundays
Every fourth Sunday of the month we intentionally worship together as the entire PPC family of faith. Children’s Worship does not meet on these Sundays so that the children can participate in worship from start to finish. We value these worship services as a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our intergenerational community and enhance our worshipping life.