By Kirsten Peyton
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
When I was a little girl, I spent all week waiting for Sunday to come. Kids Church was, without a doubt, the highlight of my week. To this day, there are certain songs that come to mind when I think about the time I spent in Kids Church. That was where I learned Bible story after Bible story and memory verse after memory verse. More importantly, I gave my heart to Jesus in a cinderblock building with red and blue paint splatters all over the walls. Being involved in Kids Church as a child had such an incredible impact on my life that when I became an adult, my husband and I accepted a call to become Student Pastors at our church.
It is my heart’s desire to provide children with every available opportunity, like the ones given to me, to have a real encounter with Jesus when they come to church on Sundays. My Kids Ministry Pastor, although he wasn’t given a huge budget, always made the most of what he had. We used transparencies to put the words up on the screen, but he always had them decorated so that they would be more visually interesting to us. To me, it was always so fun to see how he was going to decorate them next! We now have so many more ways we can use technology to really kick our Kids Worship Services up a notch. The great news is, your church may already be using these elements.
Kids Church, at the end of the day, is very similar to “Big Church”. The only real difference being the average attention span in the room. If you are, in any capacity, involved with the adult services at your church, you know that technology plays a huge roll in keeping people engaged during the service. Trends are constantly changing and innovating and trends in technology and music are no exception. It’s especially important in Kids Church to stay up-to-date with what’s new in technology in music.
Technology should never be a distraction. It should only ever be an enhancement of the overall worship experience. It’s important to utilize all that technology has to offer without ever compromising the integrity of true, genuine worship. So, where do you begin? How can you incorporate technology and media into your Kids Worship Services? Here are three important elements to help get you started:
Lighting effects have been, whether intentionally or unintentionally, used in church services for hundreds and hundreds of years. In Bible times, church services were held using only candles or torches for lighting. If they weren’t available, only the light of the moon was seen. Studies have shown that the lack of lighting causes your brain to produce an excess of melatonin, which causes you to relax. Bright lighting has the opposite effect. Fast food restaurants typically have the lights turned up bright because they want to get their customers in and out as quickly as possible, but high-end restaurants keep the lighting soft to keep you relaxed, wanting to stay longer and, hopefully, willing to spend more money. That being said, lighting can help create an atmosphere and set a certain tone. This applies to your Kids Worship Service as well. If your space allows, try to separate sections of the room and utilize lighting to distinguish a “play area” from a “worship area”. Turning down the lights during worship in the designated “worship area” will allow the kids to be less distracted and more focused on what is going on. If there is room in your budget, feel free to experiment with fun lighting as well. Just because the lights are turned down doesn’t mean there can’t be fun colored lights as well to keep kids engaged during the fun, upbeat worship songs. Lighting is a very simple, inexpensive addition that can really help you set an atmosphere for worship in your Kids Church services.
2. Presentation Software
You may be reading this and thinking that PowerPoint is the extent of your knowledge about software. What you may or may not know is that there are specific church presentation software programs that have been created specifically for churches to quickly and easily set up their services. These programs include ProPresenter, MediaShout, and EasyWorship, among others. Church software programs make setting up your Kids Worship Services quite simple. All your worship songs and the lyrics that go along with them can be stored in the software program and added to the service setlist on the Sunday you will be singing them. If your church has a CCLI license, you can even import songs directly from CCLI so that they don’t have to be typed out. Different Bible translations can also be downloaded directly into the software so that you can quickly and easily add scripture to be used during the service. If you’ve been in Kids Ministry for any length of time you know that last minute changes to the service happen quite often. With PowerPoint, in order to make a change, you are forced to create a whole new slide. These church software programs are designed to make last minute changes happen in just a matter of seconds. Software can be an investment, but the money spent is well worth the time it will save you in service prep. This will allow you more time to focus on the actual worship experience for your Kids Ministry. It’s important to discuss software with your senior pastor because they may already be using a software program in the adult service that you can also use in the Children’s Services. Some of these programs offer “Campus Licenses” so that one license (one purchase) can be utilized by several different ministries in the church at the same time. This allows your church to make one software purchase that benefits the entire church. If you’d like to learn more about church software, visit http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/software for more information.
3. Kids Ministry Media
There are a few different types of media you can utilize during your worship service to help illustrate your lessons/songs and better engage your kids. My favorite media addition to our Kids Church Services are Worship Tracks (also referred to as Song Tracks). Worship Tracks are fun, engaging videos that play a kids worship song while displaying the lyrics on the screen. This takes quite a bit of pressure off a Children’s Pastor who may not be musically inclined enough to lead worship songs or even a Children’s Pastor who doesn’t want to spend time typing out and setting up lyrics to songs every week. There are incredible artists like Yancy who create really energetic, engaging worship tracks for your Kids Ministry to use. Kids Videos are a kid-friendly version of videos that your senior pastor may be using during his messages in the adult service. These videos range from “sermon illustrations” that can be used to help illustrate a Bible lesson to interactive games that can be used to keep your kids engaged throughout the service. Another media element you may want to consider adding to your services is Motion Backgrounds. Motion backgrounds are images with slight movement that can be used behind song lyrics, scripture verses or other important service elements on a service slide. This is, yet again, a small addition that can really add that “finishing touch” on your worship services and really make them look well put together. All of these media products can be purchased through WorshipHouse Kids at www.worshiphousekids.com.
It’s important to acknowledge that nothing can take the place of the one-on-one relationships that you have with your kids and the relationship with Jesus that you work to help them foster. These technology elements are intended to help you enhance the overall worship experience. We have an incredible opportunity to provide the next generation with the tools they need to develop a relationship with Jesus. There is nothing sweeter than a room full of children lifting their voices and worshiping the Lord. With just a little effort and budgeting, you can help your church create a worship environment for your kids that the Lord will bless and grow.