A guide to getting kids back into church

It’s been a long wait, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! In the last Kids E-Newsletter, Matt Beckett gave us some great questions to reflect on from the past year. I don’t know what stage you’re at with transitioning back into meeting in person with your church family, but here are a few practical things that I found helpful to think about as we began our children’s church back in the building a couple of weeks ago.

Think about the families

Many of the children won’t have been in the building for over a year, and when they come back it will be different to what it was. We are using different entrances and exits to make the one-way system work, and some groups are in new rooms to spread out. I filmed a video doing a walk through for the children to see the route they would follow and show them the room layout. This was helpful for parents so they knew where to go and for children who may be anxious or like to know what a new place will look like. I sent the video on our parent WhatsApp groups, but you could put it on YouTube and email the link out. It was also a good opportunity to show we’re really excited to welcome them back and can’t wait to see them, even if things are a bit different to what they were before.

Think about the team

Our team has changed quite a lot in the last year. Some took the opportunity to step back from serving, and some have joined in the last few months. We’ve been running our groups on Zoom so I’ve been able to be on there every week, whereas returning to the building with groups running simultaneously meant I needed to know who was available. I emailed everyone to ask who was happy to be serving in groups face to face and who wanted to wait a bit longer, giving them permission to hold off until they are comfortable to return. I’m aware that with new systems and ways of doing children’s church there is a lot of information to take on which we have in our heads as we’ve been planning it for weeks, but others won’t remember! I laminated lots of instruction sheets for different things (e.g. where children arrive and register, how to use the TV etc.) specifically for what we’re now doing in the groups so it is always there for the team to refer to – this is especially helpful with lots of people on rotas to save yourself having to explain everything each week!

Think about yourself

Let’s be honest, we’re probably all pretty exhausted. Make things as easy as possible for yourself! We’re using free session plans written for families to do at home (www.tath.co.uk/sunday-packs) and we’re just adapting slightly to make it work for groups face to face – this means I can email the pack to all families each week and everyone can do the same thing whether they’re coming to the building or doing church at home. That means if they come to the building one week and not the next it doesn’t matter, and you’re not preparing multiple things.

I pray that when you’re able to meet in person you’ll experience the joy of fellowship face to face which we’ve missed for so long. Let’s remember, however we’re meeting, to ‘keep telling the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord’ (Psalm 78:4)!

Mim Taylor is Growing Faith Pastor at St Mary Bredin, Canterbury.