Sometimes there is nothing more frightening than looking at a blank page and wondering how you will fill it. If you are just starting in ministry, or even when you've been doing it a long time, when one is planning a service for children, it can be just as daunting a task. You know that you will be in trouble if what you plan goes too long, or worse, if it finishes too fast. You never want to have much unplanned time because that can lead to discipline issues. And starting from scratch with all that in mind can seem a little overwhelming.
Over the years, I have changed many things I have done, but one that seems to stay about the same is the way I plan a service. So, I thought this week I would share what one of our Sunday Morning Worship services looks like. I literally plan out every minute. Below is a sample of one of my service agendas. We were studying the importance of the Altar in this week's lesson. I have put explanations of certain sections in blue so that it can be better followed.
I. 5 Minute Warning (10:30-10:35) (Morning worship actually begins at 10:30, but we start 5 minutes later so that all the children are checked in should anyone be running late.)
Play DVD Countdown Wild Animals
II. Opening/Announcements (10:35 – 10:40)
III. Music (10:40– 10:55)
a. Song 1
b. Song 2
c. Song 3
d. Prayer Song
IV. Prayer and Prayer Stations (10:55 - 11:00)
V. Testimonies (11:00-11:05) (We give the children opportunities to give God praise for what He is doing)
VI. Dismiss Preschool
VII. Game (11:05-11:15) (A game is chosen that will help to get the kids thinking about the day's topic even before we start the lesson)
VIII. What is Sacrifice? (11:15-11:17) (This is a lesson opener)
IX. The Altar (11:17-11:30) (Main lesson section)
X. I Give Up (11:35-11:40) (Application point of the lesson)
XI. Review Quiz (11:40-11:50)
XI. Free Play until Parents arrive.
In my agendas, I always make anything that is media related RED. That way it is easy to see and makes the program easier to follow for whomever is running the computer. I also have a time listed by each activity or lesson section. This is not so that those items will last exactly that long, but so that I can quickly see if I am running behind or ahead of schedule. For example if I am ready to play the game and it is already 11:10 before we start, I know that we will probably have to play a shortened version of the game. Or if it is only 11:00, we might be able to play an extra round. It's simply a way to help me stay on track, but it is super helpful to me.
This is the way I have been putting together services for around 10 years and it generally helps to keep things running smoothly. But everyone will have their own way. You're service plan will have you're own stamp on it. I simply offer this outline as an example, and if you are looking for ways to put together your own services, perhaps you will find it helpful.
Until next week!