Participating in live-streamed worship with children can be tricky; watching worship on a screen may be far less engaging than worshiping in person. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Don’t Be Afraid To Try!
New things may take some trial and error, and some adjusting. It might take several tries to make some progress!
Explain guidelines for behavior and participation based on the needs of your families. For example, you might ask your children not to talk during worship unless they have a worship related question or to stay in the living room for the entire service.
Set Up Your Viewing Environment
Use a screen that is easily accessible. Consider what room in your home might maximize worship participation and minimize distractions.
Light A Candle
Light a candle as the service begins and extinguish as it ends. A battery operated candle is just fine, too! This is a tactile and visual way to mark that this time is holy and special.
When singing stand as able, utilize prayer postures during times of prayer, show kids how and when to cross themselves, and so forth. This will allow children to embrace the flow of the service and will make the time less static and sedentary.
Recognize The Developmental Limitations of Attention Spans
Unlike in traditional worship gatherings, where sensory opportunities are replete, live-streaming will provide a more one-dimensional experience. As such, for littles especially, you may want to have religious coloring sheets, crayons, a story Bible, a snack, or other quiet activities nearby as attention wanes.
Rethink Participation in Creative Ways
Whenever possible, use your imagination to sustain how your child participates in worship. For instance, if your child usually puts an offering in the offering plate, consider having them help mail it or make an online gift. Or, if your child loves to pass the peace, have them do so virtually with someone prior to or following the service.
Just as with in-person worship, sometimes kiddos struggle to make it through the whole service. That’s perfectly ok! God’s grace is big enough for all of us. Simply creating a shared space where children will overhear God’s Word is a profound thing.
Other Things to Consider
- Some churches may both live-stream and record worship services. Consider what might work best for your family.
- For some, an extended Bible Story time might be a good fit instead. Give it a try!
- If you are able, to help make the virtual experience more concrete, have your family choose a specific way to put your faith into action immediately following worship each week. You could donate to a local food pantry or meal delivery program, send someone whose isolated a card, or write/draw prayers for people in need.
Faith-Filled Practices for Uncertain Times
Looking for more faith-filled practices for these uncertain times? Here’s a PDF with some ideas.
Rachel Doboney Benton resides in Winterville, North Carolina and is a United Methodist Christian educator who enjoys helping families (especially those with children!) foster a way of seeing and perceiving the world through Christ that shapes every thought and action. A graduate of Wofford College and Duke Divinity, she loves family faith formation, intergenerational ministry, Godly Play, and Eucharistic theology.