by David Reneau/ May 22, 2021
In my last post in equipping called kids, I mentioned I challenge my students to take over the kids’ service. This is not an easy task, but it is adored by kids and parents alike.
Here are three things I do to prepare kids to takeover the service.
1. Give them opportunities to serve in kids’ church and observe how they do.
The capstone of my K-Team program is the kids leading the service at the end of the semester. Throughout the semester, I train kids on stage presence, improv, puppets, leading worship, running sound and tech, and leading the lesson. With each exercise, I’m looking for kids who have the passion and the talent even if they don’t think they have it. It’s like being a coach and training for the big game at the end of the season. At first, I rotate the kids every week on Sunday mornings in different low-pressure positions. After a few weeks, it becomes pretty apparent who can do what, but I have been surprised.
2. Help them discover who God has made them to be.
Near the end of the semester, the last class I teach is on spiritual gifts with a spiritual gift assessment. I don’t know if you’ve ever done one of those with fourth graders, but typically it’s a mess. Usually students end up looking like Jesus by having 20 or more of the 25 possible gifts
Nevertheless, over the years, I’ve learned that they don’t really know themselves that there is a little seed of a gift that needs watering. Instead of looking at the top 5 gifts like I do with adults, I focus on one. Usually, one gift rises above all the others and speaks to what I’ve seen in the child already and to their passions. They’re usually really excited about it.
3. Assign jobs and practice.
Using the assessment and the other observations throughout the semester, I break the service down into jobs and begin assignments. A lot of times I take volunteers, but sometimes if a kid doesn’t raise their hand for a job I know they can do, I’ll encourage them to step up.
After assigning the jobs, I give the students the service scripts a few weeks in advance for them to prepare. Then we do a few practices, both as part of our normal class time and the Saturday before to make sure they know the material and to make sure we’re ready for the big day. It also helps them work out their nervous bugs and gives me opportunities to coach them.
On the big day there’s a lot of nerves, and parents come in to watch. After some prayer and encouragement and last-minute tweaks, we start.
Usually during a kids service, the biggest pitfall is pacing. They almost always go too short. That’s ok. It’s a learning experience, and I’m ready to step in and fill in the gaps as needed. It’s all part of the learning process.
The kid-takeover Sunday is usually a big hit with the students, the kids, and the parents. It allows the students to try things out and do things they don’t normally get to do. The kids can see what they’ll get to do when they’re older, further feeding the program, and the parents get to see their kids serving God in ways they may never have imagined. Above all, it allows the students to serve in the calling God has given them. They get a little taste of what it’s like to serve. Many times they ask for more opportunities to serve. It’s one of my favorite things to do.