Make Kids Feel Valued. Say “I’m so glad you’re here!” Give kids a high five, fist bump, or handshake (a kid-appropriate “holy kiss,” 2 Cor. 13:12). Take time to stop and listen when kids tell stories about their week. Carry mints or other small treats to give to kids (with parent permission). In these small ways (and many more) we honor our Lord Jesus, who welcomed little children, affirmed their value in his kingdom, and commanded us to make it easy for them to come into his presence (Matt. 19:14).
My kids decided they wanted to commit to our current church well before my husband and I did. On our first visit, our three young boys were met by teenagers who offered fist bumps, Sunday School teachers who introduced themselves with a smile, and a church elder who taught them the secrets of his signature sleight-of-hand trick.
The church didn’t have children’s ministry staff or polished kids’ programs. What it did have was people who liked kids. And that was more than enough for my children.
In the years since, the congregation members have continued to express love for my kids in dozens of ways. My boys have grown into teenagers, and have been joined by a younger sister, but they still know who is prepared to give them a LifeSaver and who is always up for a discussion of the big game yesterday. They also know who is praying for them. As a result, they walk into church on Sundays believing they belong. The little things members did when they were small taught them to expect to be included and valued every Sunday—no matter how old they get.
Whatever the size or resources of your church, it can be a place where little kids know they are welcome. Just like adults, kids in the church flourish when they are known, loved, served, and engaged. And it often doesn’t take much.
Consider 25 tiny ways to welcome kids in church.
Know (Make Kids Feel Seen)
- Look kids in the eye.