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Children and Worship Showcase

A showcase highlighting the importance of including children in meaningful ways in worship, both in the main worship space and in other age-appropriate, unique worship spaces.

For ten years I have been involved with the children and worship program at my church. As I have worked with that program and led children through the worship time, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of including children in meaningful ways in worship, both in the main worship space and in other age-appropriate, unique worship spaces.

Key Insights

    Wise is the congregation that:

    1. Acknowledges children are full and active participants in worship.
    2. Encourages children to participate in worship in meaningful, age-appropriate ways.
    3. Allows children to explore worship through “godly play” and worship centers or stations.
    4. Provides good leaders (well-trained and equipped) to guide children in worship.


     A Child Shall Lead (Choristers Guild, 1999) 
    by John Witvliet 
    This book covers strategies for teaching children about worship and how to plan worship services that involve children more fully.

     Helping Our Children Grow in Faith (Baker Publishing, 2008) 
    by Robert Keeley 
    A book designed for children's ministry and worship leaders, Sunday school teachers, and pastors—as well as parents—who want to nurture the spiritual development of the children in their lives.

     Together We Worship (Christian Schools International, 2008) 
    by Laura Keeley and Robert Keeley
    This book identifies four main elements of worship and provides activities, worksheets, and audio resources for teaching them in a classroom setting.

     Shaped by God: Twelve Essentials for Nurturing Faith in Children, Youth, and Adults (Faith Alive, 2010)
    by Robert Keeley
    Twelve experts share their perspectives on faith formation at home, in worship, in education, in intergenerational contexts, in people with developmental disabilities, and more.

     Young Children and Worship (Jossey-Bass, 2003)
    by Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman
    By integrating religious education and worship, this book presents an approach for introducing three- to seven-year olds to the wonder of worship.

    Web Resources

    Children's Books about Worship There are a number of excellent children’s books that help educators, church school leaders, and parents teach children about worship. These books focus on the sacraments, Christian year, the psalms, and prayer. 

    Let the Children Come
    Congregations are all over the map on when they expect children or youth to attend an entire service. In some churches it doesn’t happen until high school graduation. Read on to discover why and how churches are making it a priority to engage children in worship, especially in sermons and prayers.

    All God's Children Have Gifts: Disability and worship
    A feature story exploring ways to be inclusive in worship and make room for those with or without special needs.

    Bibliography - Children and Worship
    An annotated bibliography of resources about children and worship.

    It Takes a Nurture the Children
    This article provides a biblical basis for fully including children in worship and offers practical suggestions for churches and parents to try.

    Beyond the 'Children's Message': Welcoming Children in Worship
    This article provides practical suggestions for pastors and congregational members to joyfully welcome children—from young ages through youth—into the worship life of the church.