3 Practical Ways to Include Children Into Corporate Worship

3 Practical Ways to Include Children Into Corporate Worship

Kids in church

Search for just a few minutes in the archives of any Children’s Ministry blog or social media group and you will find something regarding the debate on whether or not children should be in corporate worship (aka “big church”).  It’s one of those things that there will never be a universal answer to.  There are valid arguments on either side, but ultimately it comes down to what your church decides supports your long term plan for the children and families in your ministry.

There are many blogs and resources out there on how to run a fantastic children’s church program – from being a top notch large group communicator to what technology to use to best facilitate your program.  There are Pinterest pages and companies devoted to helping you trick out your space on any budget or how to add flair to any set.  Unfortunately, there aren’t as many resources out there that offer practical advice on how to help incorporate children and families into corporate worship.  So, that’s what you’ll find here – 3 Practical Ways to Include Children Into Corporate Worship:


Prepare yourself.  Know your church’s reason behind having children in worship, get right with it, and be able to articulate it to others in a way that is free from emotion.  Prepare the congregation.  Find ways to tell and show the congregation that you are a church that values multi-generational worship.  Prepare the parents.  If you have a certain age (say 1st grade) where you make the transition from multiple hours of Sunday school to worship let parents know it’s coming when their children are in Kindergarten (or younger).  Prepare the children.  Don’t underestimate the power of letting children know what is coming well in advance.  Provide opportunities for them to experience pieces of the service leading up to the transition.


Find ways to make children and families feel welcomed and loved each time they enter your worship center.  Let them know that they are a valuable, important part of your congregation.  For example, you could provide buttons for each child that say something like “new kid on the pew” or you could have a special presentation that recognizes them when they make the transition into attending corporate worship.  Whatever you decide, let them know that it matters to your church that they are there – noises, messes, enthusiastic amen’s and all.


Keep the lines of communication open with their parents.  Is there something that you can do to support them in this new (and sometimes scary) adventure?  Would it be helpful if you provided a list of tips for worshiping with a child?  Would it be helpful if you could work with your senior pastor to provide the scripture and sermon topic a few days early when certain topics were going to be discussed?  Would it be helpful to provide a bag of quiet items (like pipe cleaners) that would help the children focus during the more difficult times?

Don’t forget – sometimes the smallest things make a big difference!

What have you learned about including kids in “big church”?

(please share in comments below)

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Greg Baird
Founder of Children's Ministry Leader at Children's Ministry Leader
My passion is seeing the lives of children transformed. I believe the best way to do that is to equip leaders in the local church to serve children, volunteers and parents to invest in the lives of children at church and in the home. That’s what we do here at Children’s Ministry Leader – equip leaders to create healthy Children’s & Family Ministry.
I serve as the Vice President of Global Resources in the Global Mission department at David C. Cook.

I love what I do as it is the outflow of 25 years of ministry experience as Children’s, Family & Administrative Pastor, consultant, trainer, speaker and short-term missions leader.

11 Responses to 3 Practical Ways to Include Children Into Corporate Worship

  1. We’ve used worship worksheets with our kids at times. We found some on Pinterest. They have sections where kids can write the names of their favorite songs we sang that morning. Places to write verses used. Place to draw a picture related to something that was said in the sermon as well as other items that help keep kids involved. We’ve also attended places that passed out bags of crayons, note paper and Bible color sheets for kids to use too. As parents, we always brought a HUGE bag of books every Sunday to occupy our kids. We were a walking library and shared them with other kids around us.

  2. I made up some “Kids Worship Bags” that I keep in a container at the back doors of the sanctuary for kids who choose to stay in. I have the service activity listening sheets, Bible maze books, Wonder Devotional books from Child Evangelism Fellowship, some blank paper, ziplock of crayons and a pen, and a small Bible story book.

    We dismiss kids before the sermon, but they are in the sanctuary for the first 35 minutes. I think it is so important for them to see adults and teens worshipping. It’s how they learn and those memories matter later.

    Noel Piper wrote a great pamphlet on helping kids in the service as well.

  3. You can tell I am old by what I am about to say. The least a child has to do while sitting with their parents the more they here and noticed and retain what is going on. If they see our sincere respect for God they will also.

    • Family Sundays – it sounds like a great way to welcome parents and children into worship together and to see and be part of the church as a whole. I love your idea at the end of being about what might be caught rather than taught. Corporate worship makes a deeper impact on the lives of children than we might think on the surface. They learn so much being a part of that experience. Best of luck on your Family Sundays as you and your team continue to follow God’s direction and mold it and shape it into something that helps parents talk about and share faith.

  4. With respect, I would categorize all three of these as “tips when kids are present in worship,” as some of them as very non-inclusive.

    The main idea behind including kids in worship is that they are a part of things… not simply observing.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Alex! You’re right, we do want children to feel welcome and included as participants in worship and not just as observers. I think we would say we want that of all people no matter their age. I’m always curious how this works in other contexts and would love to hear what things you have found helpful to the families in your church as they worship together.

      • Hi Layci,
        For my church – we said 5 years ago that if we were serious about truly including our kids in worship then we needed to start setting aside our adult preferences in corporate worship. We needed to start applying the same self sacrifice and attention to growth and learning that we apply elsewhere in life when raising kids to faith formation.

        For us that has meant changing the words we use when our kids are present so they understand what is being said and prayed, we sing songs they can process, etc.

        It hasn’t been universally popular, but the results are undeniable! Since making these changes we have seen a faith growing in children – and their families – that I didn’t witness in the 8 years of traditional/conventional worship at my previous church.

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