We LOVE all-age worship, but it can be a little intimidating for some. Not everyone has had good experiences with all age worship, cringey children's songs, embarrassing action dances, children (and adults!) unable to concentrate.
But all-age worship done right is a wonderful opportunity to bring glory to God and to spend time together as a whole church family. In the bible Jesus and the apostles often spoke to the adults and children together (Ephesians 6:1-9, Matthew 14:13-21).
Here are our top 10 tips for worshipping together as a church family.
- Involve everyone
It’s easy to think of an all age service as for children and parents, but it’s important to remember other church family members. The elderly, teenagers, singles and those without children are all equally as important to consider. It’s a good idea to involve all ages in the planning process – you never know what ideas might come up!!
- Make sure the ultimate focus is always on God
Having fun is really important, but with every activity you’re planning make sure the ultimate focus is to bring glory to God. Use bible teachings as a starting point, rather than "moral lessons". Biblical literacy will serve everyone well!
Ask God for guidance and to meet with people in a meaningful way during the service.
- Use what/who you have…variety is key!
Engaging with all the senses can really keep people engaged with God. Do you have a poet, a dancer, an artist or someone who can use sign language? Can you use their God given skills to help the whole church to worship together?
- Be accessible
Be mindful of the language and terminology we use – don’t assume everyone has children, or that everyone understands “church speak”. Being physically accessible is important too – the elderly or those in wheelchairs may need space to sit next to a carer or loved one, as well as space for push chairs. It’s also important to be understanding of noise, especially sudden noise, for those with Autism and specific learning challenges.
- Keep it simple, but don’t ‘dumb it down’
Children can understand the ‘big’ subjects and it’s important that they do. Songs can be a great way to tackle these big subjects in an easily understandable way. This won’t only help children understand the concepts, but a lot of adults will be grateful too!
Matthew 21:16 ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise!’
- Use contributions from a variety of ages
Is there a child who would like to pray or an elderly person who would like to share a story? Different generations have much to give and much to learn from each other and this intergenerational sharing is invaluable!
- Be practical
Can we expect a 5-year-old to concentrate on a preach for 45 minutes? Or a parent with a child to have patience that long. A shorter service with quality worship and teaching with everyone involved together, is much more valuable than a long service where people are distracted.
- Ask for feedback from all ages
Ask a variety of people of all ages what they enjoyed, what they didn’t enjoy and what they learnt. It’s important to put a plan in place to review how the services are going and make sure they’re heading in the right direction – who knows where you’ll end up!
- Carry it on through the rest of church life
All age worship and an intergenerational church doesn’t have to only happen on 1 Sunday a month. Think about how to carry these principles of intergenerational church throughout the week and all of church life.
Click here for more all age worship songs
Click here for more all age Christmas songs