Being young and having to be a part of an adult world can be pretty intimidating, especially when transitioning from being in Children’s Church—where it is okay to wiggle, talk and even be silly—to sitting through a worship service where you have to be still, be quiet and probably have no idea what all is going on around you!
At Friedberg Moravian Church, we have a “New to the Pew” program where we meet with children who just completed second grade to teach them about what they are going to be doing once they become active participants during worship.
I offer a class about what it is going to be like when they actually go to “big church”! Parents are a part of this class as well so they can learn some things their child may be thinking, and sometimes even fearing, will happen within the service. Here is what we cover:
- Different Parts — Where do we listen, talk, give or pray during worship? I teach them to take little stickers that are provided and mark their bulletins at the different times we do each of these.
- Different Service Types — Communions, Lovefeasts, Baptisms, special occasions and even liturgy readings. We talk about the set-up of the service and where we listen, talk, sing and pray.
- Service Expectations — Participation throughout the first part of the service is a must! Once the sermon begins, the children have a worship bag containing activities they can do. They will still need to listen to the sermon because several of the activities have to do with certain words being said or even specific prayers mentioned throughout the sermon.
- Miss church? No problem! — We brainstorm ideas of ways for the children to take Jesus with them on the road: play/sing Christian music, play the ABC game and look for church-related objects, take the Moravian Daily Texts along and read it as a family and remember to pray!
- Familiar Passages — We look at the words for the Moravian Table Blessing (said and sung), the doxology, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostle’s Creed and the Old Testament Benediction so they will be able to recognize certain passages within worship.
Before we are done with the “New to the Pew” class, I give each child a copy of The Story for Kids and parents receive Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman. These hopefully will help guide them through questions or trials that may come up while they transition from “new to the pew” to being active participants in worship.
Heidi Everhart is director of Children’s Ministry at Friedberg Moravian Church. For more information on “New to the Pew,” contact Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org
From the October 2015 Moravian Magazine