"Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can.
In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can".
ALL AGE WORSHIP IDEAS
All age worship can be hard to get right. Your service is too childish for the adults...Your service goes way over the heads of the children...The teenagers are bored!!! The way I like to look at is that we are taking time to worship as a church family, so here is a space where we can learn from each other, young and old, get creative, have fun!!!
Here are some ideas to consider when planning your all age worship services:
Resources: It's important that you invest in some good resources that will help support your services. You don't have to do exactly what is in the book but adapt it to suit your church family. Go online, visit the bookstore, jump onto YouTube, there are so many resources out there for you to find. Here's a good resource that I've used and continue to use - All-sorts worship
Theme: Choose a theme or a core message that you want everyone to go away with after your service. Keep it simple for eg. Count your blessings - Giving thanks - God loves you etc Click here for a list of theme ideas
Discussions: All age worship is a great chance to get people talking. Think of a some engaging discussion questions that relate to your theme and message. After the discussion allow time for people to share if they wish. This is a great chance to learn from each other, and hear from some people who may not like being up front.
Get outside your comfort zone: You don't have to stick to what you always do. Try something different. It may take people a while to get used to the changes but if they enjoy it they will appreciate it. Be creative! There are lots of ideas online here are some interactive prayers that I have used that have worked.
Get crafty: Make sure that there is something for people who can't sit for too long to do with their hands (Usually the younger children - but invite anyone to join them) Set up a table with a craft or activity for them to do through the service.
Music: Make sure you choose music that EVERYONE enjoys. Choose songs that everyone knows well and if you are choosing a new song allow for time to teach that song and have a strong singer to lead it. There's nothing worse than doing a song in church that nobody is familiar with. Here are some songs for the children that you may want to use.
Involve: Involve all ages to contribute and participate in the service - Readings, testimonies, storytelling, singing, dance, video making, photography, prayers, offering. There are lots of spaces to allow your church family to be involved in each service, utilize peoples gifts and use them for the service.
Order of Service: Think carefully about where you place everything in the service so that it flows and so that your message comes across clearly. Routine is good so once you have a format that works for you, keep it but always be open to being able to adjust it if needed. Here is an example of an order of service.
Empathize: Remember that you are dealing with people from different age groups and backgrounds. Some people may have mobility issues - how can you still involve them in more active activities; have some one bring the activity to them? Maybe partner them with a young person who can assist them.Also empathize with people who struggle with change. Give them time to process the fact that children are allowed to be present and vocal within these services. Maybe take time to sit with them and hear them out and explain to them the importance of bringing everyone
Time management: This is a very important one especially if you have young children - try and keep each segment of your service to no more than 4mins. Also if possible try and keep the service slightly shorter than usual that way the children will be able to stay in for longer.
Have fun: This is another important one. If you can think back to when you were a child in church, what do you remember the most? I bet you it'll be those moments that you were having fun, whether it was singing sunday school songs, playing games in the hall, throwing sticks in the river and racing after them! What ever it was it was about a feeling. It is important that we create a feeling of fun, community, love and acceptance so that our children grow up remembering that feeling and taking it with them through their faith journeys knowing that they have the support of their church family.