By Christine V. Hides
“We create worship together,” I tell the second through sixth graders each Sunday during chapel before we pass the peace with one another, making sure no one is left out. Our children’s service follows the same order of worship used in the Kenilworth Union Church and congregations around the world: we gather together; we hear God’s word, we remember and give thanks at the table for God’s presence, faithfulness and love; and we are sent out into the world to serve God and our neighbor. Like the early church in Acts, we gather in community to worship God with generous hearts and to gather offerings for those in need.
Relationships with God, with those in our church and with our neighbors are important to our health and well-being. Trusted adults, teachers, mentors, parents and grandparents have a profound impact on our lives. Through relationships strengthened in our shared stories, our care for one another, and our encouragement of one another to live as Christ in the world, our faith grows.
The Search Institute researched the importance of relationships on child development. They found: “Young people are more likely to grow up successfully when they experience developmental relationships with important people in their lives. Developmental relationships are close connections through which young people discover who they are, cultivate abilities to shape their own lives, and learn how to engage with and contribute to the world around them.”
For these reasons, relationship building is one of our best practices or guiding principles for Children’s Ministry. Activities, games and worship are all designed to foster community, joy, and growth. Through these connections with one another we catch a glimpse of God’s great love for us.
Next week we will explore the importance of play as we continue our Lenten exploration of our guiding principles for Children’s Ministry. To read about innovation, please see this past post.