Helping Your Child Worship

Helping Your Child WorshipCorporate worship is one of the most important things a congregation does. In worship God comes to us in Word and Sacrament, and we respond by listening and receiving, praising and thinking, and dedicating our lives to God's service.
While Christian education classes train us for God's service, worship motivates and empowers us to serve. Worship is the "pep rally" for the entire congregation - children as well as adults.

Bringing children into our midst for worship is something like having the smallest member of the family eating at the supper table even though his or her manners are not elegant. Children will wiggle and poke and swing their legs simply because they are children; they will also sing with us and pray with us, and give with us. So we are suggesting that we (the adults) put up with the restlessness and undercurrents of children during worship. We are to trust that the child in our midst will learn: my family and many others believe it is important to come to this place each Sunday; I belong to this special company of people; I am welcome; that the signs and sounds and feels of the sanctuary are good, even though not always comprehensible; that something is expected of me in this place; that I may respond with song and prayer and offering in the worship of the God revealed in Jesus Christ; and that God loves me and wants me to worship God too. All these learnings are valuable!

This page is intended to help you guide your young child's growth in understanding the exciting activity of God's people which we call worship. We encourage you to bookmark this page for future reference, and to share the information with your child.

SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP

  • Arrive in time to find a good place to sit. Make sure your children can see. Put them by the aisle or use the front pews.
  • Bring something along for a very little one to hold or look at; something soft and quiet.
  • Make sure your child picks up the Worship bag provided.
  • Practice parts of the service at home. Things such as the Lord's prayer and Doxology.
  • Help your child mark the hymns with bookmarks.
  • Help your child locate the Bible readings in the pew Bibles and follow along.
  • Have children check off each part of the worship service as it passes.
  • Tell and show children the repeated words in hymns, which they can remember and sing along.
  • Encourage those who read to follow along in the bulletin and participate.
  • Express your joy of having them in worship with you by an occasional smile in their direction.
  • Ask them about the Children's Time after church, what they remember, what they learned.

DEFINING WORSHIP WORDS - or When your child asks, "What's that?"

  • ACOLYTE — Person who helps lead worship by carrying the cross, the torches, Bible, by lighting the candles.
  • BAPTISM — Identifies us with Christ who was baptized. It is done with water, which represents the washing away of sin. Our usual mode is by sprinkling which represents the decent of the Holy Spirit. Many are baptized as infants.
  • BAPTISMAL FONT — Where water is placed and baptisms happens.
  • BIBLE — The book, which contains God's Word and tells the story of what God has done for us.
  • BREAD — One of the elements of Holy Communion, which represents Jesus' body.
  • BULLETIN — The printed program, which helps us, follow the order of the worship service.
  • CHALICE — The cup used in Holy Communion, it holds the wine (grape juice)
  • CHOIR — The group of people who help lead the music of the service.
  • CLOISTER — Space/hallway between the Sunday School rooms and the Narthex and Sanctuary.
  • COMMUNION TABLE — the table at the front in center, where communion elements are placed.
  • CONFESSION — say something that is true - we confess that we are sinful; we confess the creeds.
  • CREED — Short statement of belief, from the Latin "credo" - I believe.
  • EPISTLE — A reading from one of the letters written by Paul or others to the early church.
  • FORGIVENESS/ASSURANCE — When the pastor reminds us that God says, "Because of Jesus, I don't see your sins anymore; we can be friends again."
  • GOSPEL — The lesson read from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.
  • HYMN — Song sung by the congregation.
  • LECTERN — The stand from which the lessons are read.
  • LECTIONARY — A calendar of days to read certain Bible passages which match with the seasons of the church year and so that a variety of readings are preached on over a year.
  • LESSON — A reading from the Bible
  • LITURGIST — The person who assists the pastor in worship.
  • LITURGY — The pattern our worship service follows; what we do in worship.
  • MINISTER -— Someone who serves God by serving others in Jesus' name, not just the pastor.
  • NARTHEX — The area where the congregation enters from outside and before they come into the sanctuary with the pews.
  • PARAMENTS — The cloths on the communion table, pulpit, and lectern, which change colors with the church seasons.
  • PASTOR — The person who leads a congregation in worship and the daily workings of the church.
  • PEW — The long benches we sit on in worship.
  • PRAYER — Talking with and listening to God.
  • PROCESSIONAL/RECESSIONAL — At the beginning and end of worship when the choir, worship leaders, and sometimes the acolytes, cross bearer, torch bearers, and elders carrying communion elements walk in and out while the congregation is singing.
  • PULPIT — The large stand from which the lessons are read and the sermon delivered.
  • RETABLE — The Table with the cross and candles and flowers which is behind the communion table.
  • SACRAMENT — When God comes to us in Baptism or the Lord's Supper (Holy Communion)
  • SANCTUARY — The place where worship is usually held, building.
  • SERMON — A short talk given (usually) by the pastor during worship which helps us understand the scriptures and how they apply to our lives.
  • STOLE — The long colored cloth draped over the shoulders of the pastor. Its color changes according to the season.
  • USHER — A person who helps people through the worship service by passing out bulletins and taking up the offering.
  • WINE — (Grape Juice is unfermented wine) One of the elements of Holy Communion representing Jesus' blood.
  • WORSHIP — The ministry of Word and Sacrament. When the congregation gathers to hear God's Word and celebrate God's presence.

WHAT SEASON IS IT?

Helping Your Child WorshipThe Sunday bulletin always notes the day of the church year, which is being celebrated. The following may help you explain the seasons and festivals to your child.

Just as we have Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, so the Church Year calendar has the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Just as we have special celebrations like Labor Day, Presidents' Day, and Independence Day, so the Church has special festivals and feast days like the Transfiguration, Good Friday, Trinity, All Saints, and Christ the King. These special days help us remember events and people in the life of Jesus and the Church. Each season and special day has its own theme, color, and assigned lessons.

  • Advent - focuses on getting ready for the coming of Jesus, the color is blue or purple, symbolic of hope.
  • Christmas - celebrates the birth of Jesus, the color for the season is white, the symbol of gladness, light and joy.
  • Epiphany - celebrates the coming of the magi and the manifestation of Jesus as the Christ. The color for the day is white, the color for the rest of the season is green, symbolizing spiritual growth.
  • Lent - a season of penitence and preparation for the celebration of the Resurrection. The color for the season is purple to suggest somberness and meditation.
  • Easter - celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord; the color for the season is white.
  • Pentecost - celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit and it's work in our lives. The color for the day is red, and for the Sundays following green.
  • Ordinary Time - time when we are not emphasizing any particular part of the faith story. The color is green which represents God's creation and growth.
  • Saints' Day and other festivals - may or may not fall on Sunday. The color for these days is either white or green depending on what or who is being celebrated.

Order of Worship and Why (This is the order most of the time.)

Helping Your Child WorshipGathering in God's Name - This includes the Call to Worship, opening hymn of praise, confession and act of pardon. At the beginning of worship we are remembering God's great acts and we respond by confessing our sins and being forgiven. Now we are ready to listen to God's word.

Proclaiming(telling) of God's Word - This includes the reading of the lessons, sermon, hymn, children's time, affirmation/creed. This is also where the Offering usually falls and baptisms when they happen. Presbyterians believe that the Bible is most important and hearing God's word through a sermon. We then respond to this through affirming our faith, singing a hymn, and giving back to God in the offering.

Giving thanks to God - This includes the prayers, and communion when it happens. We thank God, we ask God to be with people everywhere, we pray for the sick and hurt. And then we celebrate the Lord's Supper. (usually the 1st Sunday of the month and special church holidays)

Going out in God's Name - This includes hymn, charge and benediction, going out into the world. The focus here is on going to our daily lives and remembering to praise God regularly and dedicate our lives to God. The basic meaning of the Dismissal is "Go in peace and serve the Lord."

Sunday Schedule

  •   8:30 AM Breakfast
  •   9:30 AM Church School
  • 10:30 AM Fellowship Time
  • 11:00 AM Service for the Lord's Day