by Sheik Ally/ March 24, 2017
In Scripture, God calls for His people to respond to His presence, and the response comes in a myriad of creative ways. Abraham counted stars. Moses removed his sandals. Ezekiel the prophet lay siege to a city made of clay and then cooked bread over excrement. Creative!
Often, the way we invite kids in our Kidmin venues to respond to God’s presence or call can be a little uninspired!
Creating response opportunities for kids that allow them to use their creativity or that reinforce key moments of your Scripture application or sermon can foster moments in the kids’ service that are powerful and that bring about impactful moments of worship.
The following is a list of three response stations we have used at Calvary Kids in Winter Park, Florida. They were all either taken or inspired by the “Worship Response” of that week’s Tru Fire lesson. Hopefully this list can help you think through new ways to do altar calls.
1. The Prayer Wall
Full Disclosure: About a year and a half ago, we purchased an insane amount of faux brick paneling from our local hardware store. These panels were used as facades on small buildings we built for our set and for a few walls in our foyer.
Recently, a lesson in Tru Fire called for us to put together a wall on which kids could write out their prayer requests. I found one of the leftover wall panels, drilled some holes in it, and zip-tied it to one of the supply carts. In less than half an hour, and with supplies that were readily available, I created a response station that was mobile and multipurpose. During our response times, the kids could approach the wall and use chalk to write out or draw their prayer requests on it.
2. The Heart Tree
Another Tru Fire lesson instructed us to allow kids to write prayer requests on notecards and then pin them to a station. This lesson happened to fall on the weekend before Valentine’s Day, so I made a trip down to the nearest Hobby Lobby and bought a 4-foot LED-lit tree. I also picked up a few stacks of die-cut hearts and some ornament hooks.
On Sunday morning, we all wrote names of people we wanted to pray for on the paper hearts and used the hooks to attach them to the tree. (FYI: Our leaders handled the hooks, not the kids.) Then, as parents began to filter into the room to pick up their kids, I had everyone outstretch their hands to the tree, and we all prayed for the people that were represented.
3. Praying Through Scripture
I am a big fan of using traditional, and often forgotten, methods of worship. I believe we have lost a lot of our heritage of spiritual formation by constantly repeating current trends and practices of worship and prayer.
Inspired by Dr. Mark Rutland’s phenomenal book, 21 Seconds to Change Your World, I wanted to have our kids pray through our “Remember Verse,” Isaiah 9:6, during the Christmas season. We focused on the four phrases used to describe the coming Messiah at the end of the verse: “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace.” We described each phrase and led a brief prayer relating to the specific words in the phrase.
Our kids were given the opportunity to respond to each phrase as the Holy Spirit would lead them. We could have also had them stand in specific places that related to each one.As we have moved away from standard altar calls and have given kids the opportunity to respond to the Holy Spirit in an environment that is intentional and holistic, we have seen a greater level of depth in the kids’ worship, and the prayer requests they have shared with us have been very deep.
Tru Fire is the only curriculum I have ever used that takes a very serious and intentional approach to worship responses. As we have committed to keeping that space sacred in our Sunday morning services, we have seen some awesome things happen.Children have an amazing capacity for worship and for connecting with their Creator. Allowing them to do it in their own way allows them the opportunity to set their course for worship that will change their lives and your ministry.