Dear Parents,

For six Sundays now we have attended church online. You’ve gathered your kids and had them watch the sermon in front of the TV. For some, this version of church has worked well, and for some it has lacked something significant: a message for children.

We will be adding a kid’s message at 8:35 am weekly.

I want to encourage you. The reality is that worshipping with children is messy and beautiful, chaotic and heart-warming. Nearly every week, kids need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the lesson, don’t feel like singing, focus on their friends or siblings, wander around, raise their hand with an outlandish comment, or ask to have a party. These disruptions are simply part of working with children. We continue to teach children, because every week kids also see others worshipping God; ask questions about the Bible; share their insecurities and desires to be released to Jesus through prayer; listen and learn while drawing, writing, building, and moving around; and respond to the gospel when asked to share how they see God working in the world around them.

In a season where many peoples’ lives are being unhinged, your family’s engagement and time with God is the most important part of your week. I worry constantly that I am either providing too much content or not enough. The last thing I want is for you to feel guilty that you are not doing enough, or that you are doing it wrong, or that you are not pleasing me. I would hate for you to give up on viewing online church as a family because your kids don’t want to sit.

During worship, dance around and make up hand motions to help teach the lyrics. Then during the sermon, spread a blanket with a few toys and goldfish and God’s word, and draw and color what you can about the sermon. Allow the kids to act out the narrative with their toys, and pause the livestream to answer their questions. I could tell many profound stories about children who were “not paying attention,” who days later quoted something from the teaching time. I’m asking and praying that God would meet you in your homes and guide you as you do the important work of coming to him as a family. God has always intended worship to be continuous and passed down in this way: father to son, mother to daughter, family to family.

As Moses writes in Deuteronomy 6:4-9,
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

Disciple-making with our children is an ongoing process. Let’s use Sunday online church as much as we can, and then throughout the week let’s read God’s word together to start our days.

Please reach out to me for any support you need during this time.

Heather Soukup, Director of Children’s Disciple-making
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