Psalms 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
There are a lot of great ways to start children’s church. Some children’s ministries show countdowns and have fast-paced music playing. Some make sure children are excited with a high energy game. Still others love to have the children sing high energy activity songs.
All of these are great ways to start a children’s service and to get the wiggles out. In fact, Psalm 95:2 says we should enter His presence by making a joyful noise. But whatever we do, we need to make sure it’s for the glory of God.
So if we play a game, it should have something to do with the message that day or we might want to forget the game. Whatever activity songs we sing or activities we do should make a joyful noise and glorify God or we need to remove them from our programs.
Some children’s pastors at this point might gasp. “No game.” Breathe deeply. It will be all right. You don’t have to have a game in children’s church every week if you can’t think of a game that goes with that week’s message. You could even save your game bag for the end of service in case the pastor preaches longer than usual. It will be all right.
But there’s more to these Scriptures than making a joyful noise. You’ll also want to enter God’s presence with thanksgiving. Here’s a few ways you can incorporate thanksgiving into the beginning of your children’s service.
Prayer: Every children’s service or event should open in prayer. Make sure to thank God for the children in your children’s church during prayer time. If a child prays, have him or her thank God for bringing the children to children’s church.
Thanksgiving Song: Sometimes you might want to add a song of thanksgiving to your activity songs. One song that could be used is “Bonkers” by Uncle Charlie (Made 2 Praise Vol. 11), but there are a lot of others. This isn’t necessary every week, but it’s a good idea from time to time.
Thanksgiving Lesson: Lessons on thanksgiving shouldn’t only happen at Thanksgiving.
Beanbag of Thanksgiving: Another way to have the children thank God is to have a beanbag of thanksgiving. Throw the beanbag to a few children during this part of the service. Any child who catches it must tell something he thanks God for. Remind children that this is a time for thanksgiving not prayer requests.
Thank God For Children: At the end of the Beanbag of Thanksgiving or during some time near the beginning of the service, you should thank God out loud for the children under your care. You can say something like this. “Scripture says children are a reward from the Lord, and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. So I thank God for all of you. You are my reward from God.” This not only shows the children you’re thankfulness, but it gives them the assurance that God considers them a blessing when the world sometimes considers children a curse.
At this point, you’ll be ready to enter His courts with praise. I’ll blog more about that, next time.