Lutheran Worship Activity Bags For Children



What Do We Do With the Kids?

If your congration is like mine, you may have struggled with the question of how to keep children involved in worship. Maybe some have complained that the children are "too loud" andought to be "taken out." Other well-meaning people have probably started starting a "children's service" that would be more fun or entertaining for those under 8. Parents may suggest adding a "children's sermon," more interesting music, or other changes to help them keep their children focused .

We bought to remember that Lutheran worship has always been more focused on what God is giving to us than what we are offering to God. It is Jesus himself who is giving us His Word and, through it, the Spirit of His Father. It is God who invites us to the font to receive His baptism, and God who invites us to taste the body and blood of His Son in bread and wine and see that He is good.

Jesus scolded the disciples who would not let the little children come to Him (Mark 10: 13-16). He said that anyone who would not receive the Kingdom of God "as a little child" would not enter it. The task of parents, pastors and other church leaders when it comes to Lutheran worship is to bring the little children to Jesus, not segregate them or, worse, send them away.

One tool our congration and many others have used to keep children involved in worship, especially during the sermon, are Lutheran worship activity bags. The idea here is not to entertain the children, but rather to help them focus in their own way and at their own level on Jesus and what He is saying and offering in the service. Here is what we use for our basic children's activity bag:

Lutheran Worship Activity Bag Contents

  1. Tote Bag : a dozen 6 "x9" bags can be purchased from Oriental Trader for little more than a dollar a piece, and decorated with fabric pens, appliques, and iron-ons.
  2. Clipboard : Drawing on the backs of hymnals and bibles looks like a good idea, until the child decides that drawing on the book itself would be more fun. Head this off at the pass by purchasing a mini-clipboard from Oriental Trader or by ordering them from a company such as Office Depot. This will be the most expensive part of the activity bag, but I would recommend taking the plunge. They sell for between $ 2 and $ 3 each.
  3. Activity Pages : we try and create activity and coloring pages geared to the season of the church year, if not the theme for the particular Sunday. Have some basic coloring pages for youngger children, and maybe a word search or crossword for older kids.
  4. Crayons : make your own sets using little baggies, or pre-purchase cartons of three to four from a supply company. You can usually purchase a dozen boxes of 4 for as little as $ 5.
  5. Children's Bulletin : Our publishing house, Concordia, provides a children's bulletin series. They are folded 8.5 "x11" sheets with activties, statements geared to children, and visual aids to understanding things.
  6. Bag of Cheerios : We do not include a snack in our bags, out of some parents' concerns that it will encourage eating in church rather than having a good breakfast. Paul does, after all, say in 1 Corinthians, "Do you not have homes to eat in?" (1 Cor. 11:22). But many churches do.

We started out with two dozen bags, and hung them on hooks in the Narthex. We ask kids and parents to return them to a basket in the Narthex after worship. The result? After one month, our "Moms and Tots" groups had hung a beautiful mosaic poster thanking the activity bag team for their work. Mission accomplished.



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