How to Engage Your Kids in Online Church in 3 Easy Steps

July 9, 2020    by Christie Thomas

Let Sunday, my family sat in the basement during our livestream church, and in the course of the hour-long service, one or more of my boys participated in the following:

  • asking for snacks
  • flipping through a photo album
  • playing with the dog
  • racing back and forth across the basement
  • hiding under a blanket
  • climbing the telepost
  • begging for a kids show

It’s not that my kids are “bad”, and it’s not that our church service was boring. It’s that…well, they’re KIDS. And most kids aren’t great at sitting still through a whole sermon, even when it’s on TV. The novelty of “church-on-TV” seems to have worn off, at least for my boys.

 

Why should they participate in “adult church” anyway?

When I first posted this idea online, several people suggested churches that have dedicated online children’s ministry programs on Sunday morning. That’s fine. I have nothing against children’s ministry. In fact, I worked in paid or volunteer children’s ministry for over 20 years. Our church has a weekly online class for kids too.

While there are definitely benefits to age-appropriate teaching, I firmly believe that inviting our kids into full participation in the service has benefit too!

Participating TOGETHER in church makes our kids feel included right from the start. There has been a lot of chatter recently about why teens leave the church, and it seems that part of the mass exodus may be related to our age-segregated programming (aka Children’s Church and Youth Group).


They’ve been separated for so long, they don’t know how to be part of the bigger church family. When they’re not specifically catered to anymore, they leave because they no longer feel a sense of belonging.

 

Our kids and teens need to know they belong in the greater Body NOW, not just when they turn 18. To do that, we need at least some aspects of our church life to be intergenerational.


As parents, you an I have the choice to let our faith become intergenerational. We can continue having our own church services, OR we can do something different…something revolutionary.


We can worship TOGETHER.


But since your kids might be a lot like mine, I’m going to share 3 easy steps you can take to help your kids engage in online or Livestream church services (even without a kids program).


Intergenerational church doesn’t need to be exhausting!

 

1. Be all there.

Be all there. For real.


I mean us, as parents. It’s tempting to answer texts during the service since the pastor won’t notice the white glow on your face.  But you know who will notice? Your kids.


If you’re not fully there, they won’t be either. (This article goes more deeply into preparing your own heart for online worship.)


2. Manage Expectations

Sitting through a whole sermon can be hard for kids, especially if they’re not used to sitting through sermons. Or maybe your kids ARE used to sitting through sermons, but they need the expectations (and mild peer pressure) of the church family to help them focus. In the safety of your home, they won’t sit still.


As parents, we need to recognize that it can be weird to sing out loud at home or to sit quietly on the couch watching the pastor speak from the computer.


We need to decide what we will expect from our kids.


Do we want them to sing?

Do we want them to take notes during the sermon?

Do we just want them to stop begging for snacks?


It helps to know our kids. If you have a child with ADHD, expecting him to sit through the sermon is unfair. If your preschooler is always hungry at that time of day, make sure she has a snack. Thankfully, you’ve been stuck at home with these kids for a couple of months now, so you should know what they can and cannot do!


3. Encourage Active Listening

I started homeschooling this year (in September, before it was mandatory 🤣) and here’s one thing I’ve learned:

My kids can sit and listen for a VERY long time when they’re listening to something engaging AND their hands are busy. I keep a bin of Lego in my living room for read-aloud time, and my 6, 8, and 11-year-old boys will happily create while I read for an hour, and still beg for more when my voice is exhausted.


I know my kids are not alone in this. In fact, I got the idea for “active listening” from other homeschool moms.


Friends, active listening WORKS.


So here’s what you do:


Set out some supplies on the floor or table. (See my list below for ideas. )


Instead of begging your kids to sit-down-and-listen-already, simply ask them to create something that reminds them of the service.


For example, if your pastor is preaching on the parable of the sower, ask your child to create something that reminds them of the parable. A young child might glue pompoms to a page as seeds, or scribble a picture of dirt. Older kids might draw or paint the story or set up a re-enactment with building blocks. Teens who might normally be disengaged might enjoy journaling in their Bibles or drawing out the Scripture text in funky lettering.


As they create, your children will be listening better AND they’ll have something concrete to remind them of what they learned. (Also, you’ll get to listen to the sermon for once). Win-win-win!

 

You may find that you get drawn into the activity as well, and connect more with the service than ever before!

There are MANY ways you could encourage active listening, which I’ll list below. Just know that you can change the type of toy/art supplies each week or just use the one type that works best.


If you like to have a visual reminder that it’s okay to worship God through crafting and journalling, you can print this poster of all the ways kids can engage in Scripture.



8 Types of Supplies To Encourage Active Listening During Church


Here’s a list of possible supplies you could set out:


1. PAPER AND PENCILS.

Young children can draw pictures, and older kids can draw or write out the text in fancy lettering. Throw in some markers and some kids will be sad when the sermon is over!


2. PLAYDOUGH.

Allow your kids to pound and roll and sculpt while they’re listening. This little gem was created by my 8-year-old in response to the Easter lessons at church.

 

3. WIKKISTIX

These ingenious little craft supplies are perfect for keeping hands busy on long drives, and it turns out they’re also perfect for church! Turn them into glasses so you can see the world through God’s eyes, shape them into little people or animals, or make buildings. WikkiStix are easy for kids of any age to shape, which actually makes them better than playdough, in my opinion.

 

4. RANDOM CRAFT SUPPLIES

Set out scissors and glue, then add whatever you can easily access: popsicle sticks, string, beads, pipe cleaners, rubber bands, etc.


5. BLOCKS OR LEGO

Kids can use blocks to spell words, create scenery, or re-enact Bible stories. My own kids have used blocks to create a lion’s den and to finish the phrase, “God, you are amazing because…”

Find the perfect block set for your family!

 

6. ART SUPPLIES.

Set out a cup of water, washable paint, brushes, and paper and ask your child to create a piece of art that reflects the service.

 

7. NATURE SUPPLIES.

One sunny autumn day, my preschooler rushed into the house demanding that we come outside to see his altar. My husband and I were a little shocked at first (I mean, an ALTAR??) but it turns out that he had set up the scene of Elijah on Mount Carmel. He built the altar out of sticks and was throwing colorful autumn leaves onto it to depict the fire coming from heaven.

If you can watch your online church outside, why not let your kids use what’s around them to respond to the service?


8. JOURNALING BIBLES

One of my boys loves to read a portion of text and then draw his interpretation right in his Bible. I let him color the entire page because he has a second Bible. I love that he will have this journaling Bible as a keepsake, and it is also a great learning tool!

 

Find a journaling Bible!

 

So that’s it! When you try this at home, please let me know how it goes. Leave a comment here or connect with me on social media!


May God give you the wisdom to know your child 
and the grace to set their imagination loose 
to experience the wonders of God 
even through online church.


Love,

Christie


Please let us know if any of these helped you and if you have more suggestions!


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Psalm 23 - Scripture Memory Verse

Did you know there are tons of benefits of memorizing Scripture?  

Just a few are that Scripture Memory: 

1. Renews our mind and transforms our life

2. Helps against temptation

3. helps us live in obedience, 

4. brings God's blessing to our lives, 

5. allows us to more readily encourage other believers, 

6. allows us to share with unchurched people better, 

6. gives us a better understanding of God and His will and

7. makes us wise!  

Now, who doesn't want all that?

God also calls us to memorize Scripture!

Here are 2 boys who memorized scripture - ages 4 and 2! If they can do it, so can you!

Contact us, if you would like to learn more about memorizing Scripture or receive a Scripture memory plan, at office@whitrockbaptist.ca

Summer Kids Club is Amazing!

July 29, 2020

If you've never experienced the fun and excitement of a Summer Kids Club, you are missing out!


Kids talk about it all year long, and volunteers are just as blessed as the kids.


Today is our third day of fun, food, crafts and learning. Seniors and staff from buildings around WRBC parking lot smile and wave and dance along to the music every morning.


The best part is that kids are experiencing God’s Word every day. Memorable Bible Points are reinforced throughout each station, each day — making it easy to apply long after camp is over. The bible memory buddies and all stations work together to make this powerful educational tool work for kids and leaders.


Here's a summary of what they are learning:


Day #1

  • Bible Point – Jesus’ power helps us do hard things.
  • Key Bible Verse “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
  • Bible Story: Ananias helps Saul. Acts 9:1-19

Day #2

  • Bible Point – Jesus’ power gives us hope.
  • Key Bible Verse “So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” Psalm 31:24
  • Bible Story Paul encourages others in a storm and shipwreck. Acts 27

Day #3

  • Bible Point – Jesus’ power helps us be bold.
  • Key Bible Verse “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless” Isaiah 40:29
  • Bible Story Peter and John teach about Jesus. Acts 3:1 – 4:31

Day # 4

  • Bible Point – Jesus’ power lets us live forever.
  • Key Bible Verse “The spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.” Romans 8:11
  • Bible Story – Jesus’ death and resurrection. Matthew 26:17 – 28:10

Day #5

  • Bible Point – Jesus’ power helps us be good friends.
  • Key Bible Verse – “Love each other in the same way I have loved you.” John 15:12
  • Bible Story – The church is united. Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35

It's not too late to join in on the fun!


We're going to have the same camp again from August 10-14!

Click here for more info and to register! All children grades 1-7 are welcome!

When You Feel Like Shouting "Stop It"

July 27, 2020 Help from Denaye Barahona

How do we usually react when our kids are doing annoying things we don't understand? Especially when we're tired or stressed. Are we inquisitive? Or do we shout for them to stop? For many of us, too many times it is the latter.


Denaye shares a great idea and a story on how being curious instead of accusing worked for her! 


She suggests asking your child, "Can you tell me more about what you’re doing?”⁣


Here's an example of how this helped in her parenting:


One day I heard this crazy ruckus outside. I walked out and my son was running back and forth along the stone pavers in our yard pounding them with a metal shovel. Back and forth, back and forth. My first inclination was to scream “KNOCK IT OFF! You are going to break something!”. Instead I took a deep breath and walked out calmly and asked…"Can you tell me more about what you’re doing there?”⁣

He told me he was making music. At second glance, he wasn’t behaving erratically after all. He was pretending the stones were a giant xylophone and the metal shovel was a mallet. Each stone made different sounds based on their sizes. So instead of being mad, I was actually impressed with his creativity. 

So what did I do? I told him that he could continue as long as he wasn’t damaging anything. We walked around and checked the stones and they were unharmed. So, I let him carry on. Sometimes there’s a method to their madness and we just have to pause and figure out what it is. Always strive to approach with inquisition rather than accusation—because there might be some serious exploratory learning going on. ⁣


Let us know your thoughts or comments by clicking here.

The Art of Parenting

July 24, 2020

Parenting and trying to raise godly children is the hardest job in the world. 😆 


Now, being on the other side, I can’t encourage you enough to make God the #1 priority in your family and in your life. Please take 52 seconds to watch the video, in the link below, on Session 7.  


The reward of having two 26 years old who passionately serve and love Jesus is the best reward for all the years of hard work. 😊


Parents, in order for our kids to fall deeply in love with Jesus, our walk has to match our talk. ❤️


Click here for link to video (Session 7 is 52 seconds)


What are your thoughts, struggles, questions? Let us know by clicking "Send Comments" below. We'd love to help.


Send Comments

Summer Fun! Summer Kids Club!

July 13, 2020

Please watch below as Lisa shares some news about this summer!

We're so excited to host a fun, safe Summer Kids Club this Summer - July 27-31 & Aug 10-14 at WRBC and Aug 17-21 online! We hope your kids and their friends, who don't normally attend church, will be able to join us!  Register by July 13 (for early bird discounts) by clicking here.


Video from Lisa to prepare for Sunday's Lesson

July 23, 2020

This Sunday we're learning about favouritism.

We hope you & your kids will join us over at Kids Church@Home to learn more.


If you have any comments or questions, please click "Send Comments" below.

Send Comments


Bible Story for Sunday, July 12 - Galatians 2:11-21

July 10, 2020

Enjoy this Bible story about Paul from Galatians 2:11-22 to prepare for the Kids Church lesson this Sunday.


Invite Your Friends to Summer Kids Club!

July 6, 2020

Kids, 


Please invite your friends, who don't go to church, to come to SKC with you this year. Space is limited and the early bird special ends this Friday, July 10, so register this week. 


Everyone's safety is very important to us, so we are implementing all BC Health guidelines.


It's going to be so great to be together again!


Here's the link to share an e-vite with your friends: http://evite.me/P4wQ4j9sXW.


Click here for a different invite you can send them!

Click here for all the details!


An Encouraging Word from Lisa

July 3, 2020

An encouraging word from Lisa about the only thing that truly matters.


What are your thoughts? Let us know by clicking "Send Comments" below:

Send Comments

Bible Story for July 5 Lesson - Acts 18, Acts 20:17-38

July 2, 2020

What is the most important thing to Paul?

Watch, and prepare for Sunday's lesson, as Lisa shares this week's Bible story.


Click "Send Comments" if you have any questions or comments! We'd love to hear from you.

Send Comments