Kid's Worship Nights: Behind the Scenes
I had the God-given dream of creating my first Kid's Worship Night at the end of 2014, and I've written posts on my first couple Kid's Worship Nights, which you can take a look at here: Worship Night and Worship Night 2. I recently held the first Kid's Worship Night at my current church, and it was just as incredible and impactful as it was in my previous ministry. I am honored to have had the opportunity to share a breakout about this life-changing event at the CMConnect Conference this week, and have decided to share my notes on some of the "behind the scenes" details about Kid's Worship Nights with all of you.
Vision/Inspiration behind Kid’s Worship Nights:
There is simply not enough time on Sunday mornings for teaching on worship/extended times of worship.
Kids don’t understand what it is, why we do it, or even how to do it.
We have extended worship/altar time at camp once a year, when else are we teaching kids to press into worship?
Leaders don’t understand how to lead KIDS into a true worship experience.
Leaders/parents don’t realize how much the kids CAN understand/experience God through worship.
The adults have worship events where they focus on worship at a different time than Sunday morning to be refreshed, why don’t the kids?
Goals of Kid’s Worship Nights:
Give kids the opportunity to have a new and fresh experience in God’s presence through worship.
Kids will understand what worship is, and why it is important for them to worship God.
Kids will understand that worship isn’t just about singing; there are many ways to worship God.
Kids will enter into worship authentically, not just because they see other people doing it.
Kids will have the opportunity to ask honest questions about worship in a small group with kids their age.
Kids will leave worship night excited about what they have learned, and ready to worship God.
Parents will hear about worship night from their kids.
Leaders will learn how to lead kids in worship not just with their actions, but with their words.
Leaders will leave with a new understanding of how much kids can understand/experience worship at a young age.
Elements of Kid’s Worship Nights
More than just worship. Adult worship nights tend to be only worship for more than an hour straight. That isn’t going to work for kids.
Free Time: We provide 30 min-1 hr. of free time for the kids when the parents are dropping kids off. This lets the kids play and talk to their friends before going into a more focused night of worship. It also gives a buffer time for parents who drop their kids off late. They won’t miss the important stuff.
Large Group Service: Our service includes all ages, K-6th grade.
Intro: Set the tone for the night, focusing on worship. Ask the kids what worship means to them. Takeaway statement (what do you want the kids to remember when they leave?)
Upbeat worship: We used three songs. We tried to include a couple songs they would know really well, and a newer song. Don’t do three songs where you have to jump the whole time. You will pass out. At our recent Worship Night we used, This is Our Time (Planetshakers), Like a Lion/God’s Not Dead (Kristian Stanfill), and This is Living (Hillsong Young and Free)
Skit: (teaches the kids through a character what worship is)
Game: (Don’t forget the lyrics, worship karaoke, name that worship song) Make it fun, high energy, and interactive.
Message: This is the most important part of the service. If we don’t teach kids about worship, they won’t understand it, and it will be of no value to them. I teach kids on the What, How, Why, When and Where’s of Worship. Here are my message notes from our latest Kid's Worship Night.
Slow Worship/Response Time: Our group was big enough to separate them by age at this point in the service: K-2nd and 3rd-6th grade. We did this mainly to offer a longer time of worship/response for the older kids without the distractions of the younger kids. Worship: Before each group transitioned into worship time I gave them some leading on how to remain focused and get the most out of their time with God. Close your eyes, don’t worry about anyone around you, spread out away from your friends, think about the words in the songs and sing them directly to God. I also talked to the worship leaders about leading the kids into each song to re-focus them between songs. The older kids had 3 slower worship songs and the younger kids only did 1.
Small Groups: Discussion/recap on worship, open for questions, prayer, small group activities to reinforce what they learned about worship in large group. Activity ideas: Worship art, Look up verses on worship, Describe God with ABCs, Worship Simon Says (younger kids).
You can check out the full schedule from our latest Kid's Worship Night here: Kid's Worship Night Feb. 2017.
Tips for a Successful Kid’s Worship Night:
Pray over the event, and tell your leaders to pray for weeks in advance.
Have a live worship team if possible. Even if only your slow worship is live that would be helpful. Live worship has a different feel and makes a different in people of all ages engaging in worship. Talk to your youth pastor and/or worship pastor about using one of their teams.
Talk to your worship leader(s) about leading the kids into worship by example, but also to lead them into worship verbally. Give them examples of ways/things to say to the kids to engage them in worship.
Change up the environment if possible. We used the sanctuary and pipe and draped off the sides to give it more of an intimate feel. If you can’t use another room, use lighting to change the environment, remove all the chairs in the room, do something to make it feel different.
Plan it on a weekend night. You can use this concept on a Sunday morning, but I believe that your time will be more limited. It makes a difference to do it at a different time than your normal services.
Make it convenient for parents. Plan it on a night when small groups for adults are happening, on a weekend, over valentine’s day weekend. Make it long enough for parents to want to drop off their kids (at least 3 hours).
Make it free and for a wide variety of ages. It might be tempting to charge for this event so you can offer dinner or make some money for your budget. I believe that it is important that anyone and everyone can come to Worship night. I don’t want money to stop kids from coming.
Be prepared for guests. I am always surprised by the amount of first-time guests we get at our Worship Nights. If you plan it on a weekend and it’s free, you will definitely get guests. Make sure you are ready to collect guest cards and make the guests feel welcome.
Testimonies from Worship Nights:
Kids engaging in worship like never before (not even at camp)
Leaders saying, “All worship nights should be like this!” and “I can’t wait for our next Worship Night!”
Parents telling me their kids came home excited about worship!
Kids asking great questions about worship.
Leaders saying that they were surprised by how much the kids understood and entered into worship.
God speaking a word to an eight-year-old girl during worship, and her asking to stay and worship longer instead of going to small groups.
I hope this "behind the scenes" look at our Kid's Worship Nights has inspired you to go out and give it a try in your ministry. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions about Kid's Worship Nights.