Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gifts for Worshiping Children

Need a small gift for a young worshiper this Christmas that will help him participate more fully in worship every Sunday?  Grandparents, parents, even worship leaders can offer some of the following.

The bag here has the church initials on it.
Write the child's name on your gift bag.
A Worship Bag (a small canvass sack filled with tools that help children participate in worship to take to worship each week). 
Go to What Goes in a Worship Bag for a list of things you might put into it.
If your child or grandchild has a bag look for one or two items to make it fresher.

Ribbon bookmarks to use in marking readings in pew Bible readings and songs in hymn books.  (Go to One Way to FInd the Hymn or Prayer Before It Is Finished for very simple make your own directions.)

A Worship Journal and nice pen for a child who is outgrowing a worship bag.  Choose a nicely covered bound notebook in which they can record their thoughts and prayers during worship.

Books about worship to add to a worship bag for constant rereading:

A Children’s Guide to Worship, by Ruth Boling
This delightful book is a guide to worship for young children (ages 3-9).  A congregation of mice explain Sunday worship services and encourage participation in worship by children and their parents.  Good on-the-job resource for learning “why we do it this way.” Black and white illustrations.

Come Worship With Me: A Journey Through the Church Year, by Ruth Boling
Walk through the church year with the same congregation of loving, worshiping mice.  Great colorful illustrations.  Lots of words so is best used in the sanctuary by a reader who is able to read alone – maybe third or fourth grade.

Praying in Color (Kid’s Edition), by Sybil MacBeth
Children are introduced to praying by drawing a loopy design into which they then draw or write what they want to share with God.  Give this book with a set of colored pencils and a pad or paper or a spiral notebook.  Another thing to add to a worship bag for use in the sanctuary each week.

A copy of your Hymnbook plus a set of colored pens is a great gift for a musical older child.  They can underline key words and phrases, add illustrations in the margins, star or dog-ear their favorites as they use it in the sanctuary.  Instrumentalists can even play out of it.

Books by Baylor Byrd.  This Native American author tells stories about worship skills being developed by older children.  None of the stories take place in a sanctuary or even mention God, but they very clearly tell of children learning to listen for God to speak, paying attention with joy to the created world, etc.  (You can check them out before purchasing at your public or school library.)

The Way to Start the Day
The practice of beginning the day with prayer is introduced with examples of people all around the world facing the sunrise to touch the center of their lives. 

I’m In Charge of Celebrations
A young Indian describes his practice of creating celebrations of things he experiences in the desert at home.  He keeps a calendar and enters special celebrations that he wants to make to recall special events around him.  It is a basic exploration of what it means to worship.

The Other Way of Listening
A little girl learns from a man about listening for the hills, trees, etc of the desert.  It is hard work and mysterious.  She finally does hear the hills sing with her.  Near the end of the book she almost gives up and thinks something is wrong with her.  Many children do that as they learn to listen for God. 

Add your suggestions in the comments.  Tis the season….


  1. Thank you for your great ideas here! Just a quick note, though--the title is a bit misleading. I'm sure your intention was not to imply that we worship children, but perhaps changing the title to "Gifts for Children in Worship" or "Gifts for Young Worshipers" might be a bit less grammatically ambiguous than "Gifts for Worshiping Children". Just a thought!

    I hadn't heard of any of these books, so thank you again for all the ideas--I look forward to using them in my ministry and with my own family!

    1. Oops, bloggers do lack editors, so bloopers slip through. In this case changing the title would require also changing a lot of links, so I'll just leave it and hope it gives folks a bit of a smile :) .


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