It is possible, when a church has multiple hours of Sunday morning children’s programming, for a preteen to reach the end of sixth grade without attending a single corporate worship service. The result is a group of kids who, due to inexperience, approach church worship reluctantly instead of expectantly.
You can help preteens learn how to connect enthusiastically with God in your church’s worship service:
- If your church has a contemporary worship service, note the songs you sing most often. (Your worship leader can help compile a preteen-friendly playlist of tunes preteens may hear on contemporary Christian radio.) Play the songs before, during, or after class.
- Make a date once a month for your preteens to sit and worship together.
- As teaching opportunities arise, help preteens recognize and practice giving as an act of worship.
- Acknowledge that God wires everyone to connect with Him in different ways. Encourage preteens to discover the worship styles and actions that best help them enjoy God’s presence.
- Take a lighthearted approach to the subject of worship etiquette. Lead preteens to create a list of “worst worship behaviors” or take silly posed pictures of worship do’s and don’ts for sharing and posting.
- Discuss appropriate/inappropriate worship behavior from a “you don’t want to miss a single minute of worship!” standpoint.
Encourage spiritual formation
- Provide preteens with inexpensive spiral notebooks or composition books for worship use. Encourage preteens to take notes instead of passing them. Suggest that for each message, preteens record the title, the key Scripture, and at least three important ideas from the pastor’s message.
- Begin, if you haven’t, taking notes yourself during the worship service. Whenever possible, mention ideas, anecdotes, videos, or worship experiences that relate in some way to the concepts you are teaching preteens.
- Provide copies of Bible Express and encourage preteens to develop the habit of private Bible study and prayer. When preteens connect with God alone daily, it will be more natural for them to connect with Him with others weekly during public worship.