One way to help children worship is to provide picture worship guides for them to follow. The print bulletins we give adults do not grab the children’s attention but if children are not handed one as they come in the door they assume that worship is not really for them. It’s a lose – lose proposition. Because it is such a visual world, it is not as hard as it first seems to provide picture as well as word orders of worship for young worshipers. All you need is a collection of icons to represent different worship activities. With them you can
1. Make a bookmark with the order of worship in pictures. This could be a generic one that follows the general plan of you worship or could be created for each week. Laminate them for reuse.
2. Illustrate the congregation’s bulletin. Just add the icons in the margin by each part of worship.
3. To either of the above add simple phrases that say what we will do in each part of worship, e.g. We sing to God, We are forgiven… The format is WE as the subject and as close to one to a one-word verb as possible.
Such illustrations can come from several sources:
Ø Use published or on-line clip art.
Ø Ask an artist in your congregation to create a set of them.
Ø Remember that older children and teens may be the best artists to draw for children. Some may be glad to tackle this to get community service hours for school. Or, ask a youth class to undertake the project (and in the process net a little worship education for themselves).
Ø Draw them yourself. These need not be great art and children will love the fact that you care enough to draw for them.
I have added a page of my drawings (definitely not great art!) to get you started. Some of them can stand alone and/or be combined with others to communicate what is happening more completely. For example, singing can be simply a note with the song number printed in it OR it can be a singing face OR it can be a note placed beside the part of worship that will be sung OR it can be a note combined with a part of worship icon.
As I noted a few weeks ago, summer is a great time for worship experiments. Illustrating the bulletin for children or providing them a picture bulletin would be one great experiment. You could even try it several ways asking children and their parents to give feedback and offer suggestions. You might even get some “new improved” icons from them to use.