Sunday Services families' guide
Our morning service starts at 10:30am. Before that, we have age-related teaching for children and adults. The service is for the whole church family, including children of every age. This doesn’t mean that the service is ‘childish’ but rather that parents should aim to include their children in the worship of God and to train them to join in with it and grow to love it.
We have the following things available to help you include your children:
- A Creche for children of any age, including babies, who won’t cope (or aren’t coping) with being in the service at all. There are carers present to look after your children, and of course you are welcome to stay with them too if you choose. There are activities, toys and books available for a variety of ages.
- A Noisy Area in the Ward Gallery where parents and carers can take children who are struggling to be quiet during the service. The aim is that it’s useful for parents training their children to join in with the church’s worship, so it’s deliberately not made ‘fun’. Please feel free to come and go between this room and the Great Hall (where the service is) throughout the service.
When should I take my children out?
We know that children can be noisy and we don’t mind that, so please don’t be self-conscious about your children. We encourage parents to explain to their children what is going on and encourage them to join in. But you should take your children into the Ward Gallery if
• it’s making you feel uncomfortable, or
• it’s disrupting the service for others.
Take them out and help them calm down; and bring them in again once they’re ready to. And if you’d rather not miss too much of the service yourself, do take them to join the creche at any point. You are welcome to leave them there while you return to the service.
- Children’s worksheets for children who can read and write, to help them listen to and follow the sermon
- Colouring sheets for younger children to use during the sermon.
- Older children could be encouraged to take notes on the normal service sheet
- Children’s Service sheets which are designed to help the children follow what is happening throughout the service.
Helping your children take part in the service
Ways to help your children be involved
• Be excited about the service yourself!
• Make Sunday the Lord’s special day from the moment you get up.
• Try to get your children sat down and ready before the service starts.
• Sit with your children near the front, where they will feel most that they are part of what is going on.
• The front row will be saved for children to sit with other children, so they get the best seats and the best view. This will obviously work better for slightly older children; obviously it is up to parents to decide what will work best for their children.
Things to teach children as they grow up
The thing that will help your children most is if they understand what a worship service is. Here are some things you can aim to explain to them:
• This is the most important thing we ever do, and the most exciting part of the week
• This is when we get to meet with God in a unique way. He is with us all through the week, but he especially meets with us when we worship him as a church
• This is what the church is named after! ‘Church’ means ‘gathering’ or ‘assembly’. We are the people who gather together to meet with God, every week.
• It’s all God’s idea: he calls us to worship him, and we get to respond. It’s a conversation with God. All through the service the pattern is that God speaks to us, and we respond in various ways
• Each week, God takes us again through the good news of how Jesus came to save us. The service is telling a story – see if you can spot it!
• We’re all involved! Every Christian, no matter how old, gets to meet with God as the Holy Spirit brings Jesus to meet us through his word.
Obviously you can’t explain all those things in one go. Once they are old enough to understand, maybe pick one at a time to talk about over Sunday breakfast.