5 Tips For Engaging 2-4 Year Olds In Your Gospel Community
Blog post by Kati Berreth (Redeemer Kids Director)
Gospel Communities are just that, a community that is based on the Gospel. As you think about that purpose for gathering, whether it is around a meal, dessert, community event, or in a circle discussing the sermon questions, what brings you all together is your love of the Gospel and your desire for the Gospel to be made known to the ends of the earth.
With that as the purpose, the inclusion of kids into your GC is not as daunting a task as you might think. When we think about including kids into our GC, we often think that means that our GC has to be kid centered. This isn’t true, the same as your GC being young adult, single or married, or just adult centered isn’t the case. Gospel Communities at Redeemer should be and are Gospel Centered. Your GC gets to look Gospel Centered where everyone in your group gets to hear the Gospel proclaimed at some point during your meeting.
So what might that look like? Here are some ways to welcome your future brothers and sisters in Christ that are 2-4 years old into your worship of Jesus at your GC meeting.
- (Sing and Dance together) Kids love music so if you have someone in your group who plays the guitar, ask him or her to bring it and sing a few songs together. The more you do this, repeating the same songs, the faster the kids will be able to pick up on the lyrics and sing along with you…and until that time, let them dance to the Lord, just like David did. There are not a lot of things sweeter in life than seeing a 2 year old dance to music that praises God without inhibitions or a 4 year old singing “Here I raise my Elbowneezer:)”
- (Pray together) After your meal or dessert and before kids go off to play (which is a great way for them to be building community as well so continue to let them play with their friends) stand in a circle holding hands (which keeps busy hands still for a few minutes) and ask everyone to pray for the person on their left. Praying together will model how to pray aloud not only to the kids but to some adults in the room as well. And if there are older kids you can modify the prayer time to assign families to pray using ACTS - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication to focus the prayer time.
- (Read the word together) Gather everyone together and have kids sit on laps or on the floor with their parents and read the verses that are going to be discussed out loud to the kids. If it is a long chunk of scripture you can read a few verses that are applicable or if those verses are in the Jesus Storybook Bible or Gospel Story Bible read them out of there. These books are amazing and always take everything back to the Gospel - which is great for adults as well. Be sure to ask questions as you go to engage the kids or if things are listed or numbered have the kids repeat those lists or numbers using movement…it really helps them to engage if they can move their bodies in some way.
- (Build or Craft together) Crafting or having families build something together as an attention getter towards the text will help kids and parents alike engage in the text. Kids who are tactile become adults who are tactile and doing an activity that is related or even just gets everyone engaged in a fun way to help build community.
- (Family Devotion together) Each week Redeemer Kids hands out a family devotional to parents as they leave. These are also posted with the sermon questions. I would encourage you all to look at these and incorporate them into your GC. Attention getting activities, books of the bible memorization, questions, and specifics in regards to prayer are all included and can be modified for your GC setting. These devotionals usually connect what happened in RK on Sunday to the sermon to help parents be the primary discipleship makers in their child’s lives…which can be modeled and encouraged in a GC setting.
Hopefully these ways to engage 2-4 year olds will help you make sure that everyone gets to hear the good news of the Gospel as you meet and will strengthen your relationships in your GC family.