When I’m planning a kids’ worship experience, every word, song, and moment is “on purpose”. We make sure everything we do points to what we want the kids to learn, and we don’t include anything that distracts from that message. It isn’t so different from “big church”.
Just like in kids’ church, adults deal with distractions.
Distractions for adults may present themselves differently than for kids. Most adults aren’t going to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of your worship set. And you might not have to keep your congregation from pinching each other.
But some distractions are the same. They might feel awkward, not know where to go, or feel invisible. Having a strategy for intentional connectivity will alleviate these potential distractions.
1. Quiet Moments
Implementing a quiet moment to allow the Holy Spirit to teach people in your services is a powerful way to help them absorb the message. It has been an effective tool in our kids’ worship. By setting apart this 90 seconds, we give them an opportunity to interact with God in the midst of focused worship. But more importantly, this teaches that it is crucial to our growth to set time apart to listen to God – to be quiet.
Do you have moments in your worship service for people to ask the Holy Spirit to teach them? This really helps to limit distractions for the kids by giving them a chance to focus and center themselves. It works for adults too.
In my kids’ worship I have strategically placed leaders throughout the crowd to encourage participation, make sure no one is sitting alone, and answer questions as they arise. It’s easier to stand in worship if someone next to you is standing. It’s natural to raise your hands in praise if someone next to you is actively participating. It’s more likely that you will go to a small group or sign up for an event if someone invites you.
In “big church”, assigning these roles to key volunteers will increase participation. And when people are participating, distractions are less likely to interfere with the experience.
Do your staff and volunteers all sit in the front? In one section? Encourage them to spread out around the room. Be a part of the congregation and experience the service with them.
Finally, and this is the secret sauce…there’s love.
The Bible tells us that without love we have nothing. We know this is true. But how do we implement this truth? It’s been the intention of our kids’ ministry to take our leaders to a whole new level of love for the people they interact with. We want them to look at every child as a person with a story and a great need for love. When someone trusts that you love them, they can trust what you tell them.
If someone visits your church or a long-time attender is there for yet another weekend experience, but hasn’t been loved well by those they encounter, how will they trust what they hear from the platform?
If I enter your worship experience and no one has spoken to me, or no one has made a deliberate effort to notice me, it can feel like I’m on an island. It is easy to feel awkward and out of place – especially for a visitor. If I come into your church and have been embraced and can feel the love among the people who have gathered, I will want more. I will want to be part of what you have going on. I will come back.
Being intentional about connecting with people doesn’t just happen. Strategically placing leaders who have a heart for your goal is crucial. And consistency is key. Just having greeters isn’t enough. You need to have consistent faces so people will see a face they recognize when they come to worship. And these greeters need to engage people as they enter.
Too Much Love?
Beware: there is such a thing as “loving” someone a little too much. When expressing love, make sure you focus on them. Do not mistake love for affection or unwanted attention. If you smother someone or follow them around like an ill-advised salesperson in the new car showroom, they are likely to run for cover and never return to your showroom. Let them know you are there to help them. Don’t smother them. Don’t suffocate them. Love them from a distance if you need.
Let God use you to love the congregation so they will love Him and want to be engaged with Him at church.