Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Using Photos to Connect Children to their Worship Space

It is easy for young worshipers to be so overwhelmed by the big space in the sanctuary that they overlook all the particulars within it.  To direct their attention to the particulars, take close up photographs of them.  Use them in a variety of ways.

1.     Go to HERE for directions for families to go on a Sanctuary Scavenger Hunt on their own (before or after worship, not during worship)

2.     Arrange 9 pictures of things in your sanctuary in a Tic-Tac-Toe grid.  Direct children to draw a star on each one as it is featured in worship.  Make a general grid that would fit most of your services.  And/or, make a specific one for a specific service by taking photos of the hymnal pages of songs you will sing, the readings you will hear, and the leaders for that day.

3.     On a card or page (maybe a Tic-Tac-Toe grid), print photos of all the worship leaders for the day.  Provide a marker or some stickers with which to mark each leader as he or she takes a turn leading.  (You might be surprised at the number of worship leaders you have even in a small congregation: greeters, ushers, instrumentalists, choir members, choir directors, liturgists/readers, acolytes who carry crosses and Bibles in processions, those who provide flowers or prepare communion elements, and yes, preachers.  Be sure to include some young leaders among your pictures.)

4.     On the cover of a folded piece of paper print one picture of some thing or person in the sanctuary.  On the back print a question about it.  On the inside print an answer.  Seal the card closed with a round mailing sticker or any other available sticker.  For example, on the front, print a photo of bread and wine as offered in your worship.  On the back, “Why do we eat bread and drink wine at church?”  Inside: “We eat bread and drink wine together to remember Jesus, to say that we are God’s family who eat together, and to remind ourselves that God loves us even when we mess up.”  This one might be sealed with a cross sticker.  The answer on this card might be different on different Sundays to point children to meanings of the sacrament that will be important on that particular day.  The first time you offer these cards, present them to the children at a gathered moment opening and discussing them together.  After that, simply put them in worship bags or give them out to children as they enter the sanctuary. 

None of these need to be available every week, but make great occasional tools for children to use as they get more and more familiar with the sanctuary.

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