Welcoming Children to the Lord's Supper Toolkit
Whether your congregation has been welcoming children to the table for a long time or you’re just beginning to explore what including children might mean for your church, this toolkit is for you.
In this toolkit, you’ll find
- stories of how other CRC congregations welcomed children to the table
- resources for worship
- practical ideas for parents
- curriculum for children’s ministry
- intergenerational events, and more.
These ideas are drawn from many sources: best practices of CRC congregations, good books, articles, blog posts, and more. As we discover new resources, we’ll add them to this toolkit, so check back often! If there’s a tool you need but can’t find or if you have an idea to contribute, let us know. You can contact us at [email protected].
Before you explore the resources in this toolkit, read The Spiritual Characteristics of Children and Children and Communion. They are of our most-viewed resources, and they are excellent teaching tools for children's ministry leaders, parents, and others. Also read the article Belonging and Responding by Robert J. Keeley.
We’re here to help!
For a personalized introduction to the resources in this toolkit or for assistance with faith formation challenges in your church, contact one of our Regional Catalyzers.
Pathways: Congregational Journeys
We invited several CRC congregations to share video conversations and print descriptions of the pathways they have taken—and are taking—as they consider how to welcome children to the table. It’s our hope that the materials they have provided will enhance and guide your congregation’s discussion about this sacrament.
Although their approaches are not all the same, each congregation engaged in thoughtful and deliberate conversations, and we’re grateful for their willingness to share their processes with us throughout this toolkit.
14th Street CRC, Holland, MI
Smithville CRC, Smithville, ON
Fellowship CRC, Grandville, MI
Sunrise Community Church, Austin, TX
Willoughby CRC, Langley, BC
- Recommendation to Council from Pastoral Elders
- Resource Document: Understanding Children at the Table
Emmanuel CRC, Sauk Village, IL
Whether you are a parent (or grandparent or other caregiver), or a pastor, or a children’s ministry leader, or someone else who cares deeply about welcoming children to the Lord’s table
- En la mesa de Dios/At God's Table is a bilingual picture book that helps families understand the meaning of the Lord's Supper.The Supper unfolds as a multi-faceted event that nourishes our faith and stirs our imagination to see the gifts of grace and signs of God's ongoing work in our lives and God's world.
- Dear Parents: Thank You for Bringing Your Little Ones to Worship – A letter of encouragement for families about the importance of fully including children in worship and the rich blessings that result.
- How Does My Family Talk About the Lord’s Supper? – Created by Harderwyk Ministries in Holland, Michigan, this brochure provides helpful ideas for having a conversation with your child about communion along with child-friendly descriptions of the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.
- Take It, Break It, Share It, Love It. – Making Communion Meaningful for your Children. A blog post from Bread Not Stones, written by Pastor Rebecca Kirkpatrick.
- Talking to Your Children About Communion – A list of helpful ideas for families, from Willoughby CRC.
- Wondering About the Sacraments with Children – A list of suggestions for how to wonder with your child about the sacraments.
- Look Around (color | greyscale) – A bookmark for you to print, cut, and place in your family Bible and/or your child’s Bible as a simple way to prepare to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
- The Spiritual Characteristics of Children and Children and Communion provide families with an understanding of how their children might experience the Lord’s Supper at each age level.
- Home Grown: Handbook for Christian Parenting – A practical parenting resource that will encourage and help parents/guardians nurture children’s faith and help to prepare them to participate in the sacrament of communion.
- You’re Invited – A one-week devotional to help parents or caretakers explain what the Lord's Supper is all about, get children ready to participate, and encourage the whole family to respond in gratitude for this very special gift from God.
Below you’ll find a variety of educational resources to help your congregation in welcoming children to the Lord’s table. Browse intergenerational events that
- The Lord’s Supper – From Church of the Servant (Grand Rapids, MI), a course for parents and children
- Promises, Promises – From First CRC (Denver, CO), a faith milestone retreat for children and elders.
- Children at the Table – From Fleetwood CRC (Surrey, BC), a communion course for children and parents
- Taste and See – A course preparing children to participate in the Lord’s Supper
Sunday School and Mid-week Sessions
- K-5 (large group/small group): Invited
- NEWK-5 (large group/small group): Remembering
- Preschool: A Special Meal for Jesus and His Disciples
- NEWPreschool: A Special Meal for God’s Family, the Church
- K-1: The Night Before
- NEWK-1: All Are Invited
- 2-3: Our God Saves
- NEW2-3: Jesus Is with Us
- 4-5: Lamb of God
- NEW4-5: Fed by the Good Shepherd
- Middle School: We Belong to the Body of Christ
- Faith Formation Keepsake – A sacrament keepsake document for children
- Look Around Bookmark (color | greyscale) – A bookmark for families preparing to celebrate the Lord’s Supper
- Spiritual Characteristics of Children and Children and Communion – Descriptions of the spiritual characteristics of children at various stages, along with notes about how they might experience communion.
- One Bread, One Cup, One People – An intergenerational event on the Lord’s Supper
Small Group Studies
- A Practice of Christian Unity– A free, downloadable Bible study based on 1 Corinthians 11 and designed for congregational use.
- Webinar: Children at the Lord’s Table – A recorded webinar focusing on ideas for introducing and implementing changes related to the decision of Synod to welcome children to the Table.
On these pages you’ll find ideas for enhancing the participation of children/young teens (and all ages!) in the Lord’s Supper through understandable language, meaningful visuals and
Children’s Messages and Blessings
Ideas and Approaches
- A Single Sentence Elevator Speech about the Lord’s Supper – A reminder that the meal is about more than “remembering” and an invitation to consider how to convey to all ages the richness of this sacrament.
- Finding Your Focus: Planning a Varied Meal at the Lord’s Table – Practical ideas on engaging all of the senses during a celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
- Inclusive Communion – An article considering the unique needs of worshippers of all ages who have disabilities. Includes helpful ideas for worship planning. (For more ideas on creating inclusive communities of worship consider the book Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship by Barbara J. Newman.)
- NEWKnock Knock, Communion Calling provides ideas for making meaningful transitions when children’s programs are interrupted in order that children can participate in the Lord’s Supper.
- On Communion Table Kitsch and Advent Wreaths – An article considering how the communion table in your church might visually communicate the meaning of the table.
- Ways to Enhance the Participation of Children/Young Teens During the Lord’s Supper – A list of suggestions for enhancing the participation of children and young teens in the Lord’s Supper.
- NEWFor a wonderful idea which involves children in a Maundy Thursday service check out Welcoming Children to the Lord’s Table.
- A member and the worship planners of Georgetown (ON) CRC invited the congregation to prepare itself for the following week's celebration of communion by staging a "human video" production using the song Come to the Table. During the performance, members of the congregation that were not part of the production came forward spontaneously in response. The result was a moving, participatory, intergenerational expression of faith. Download a video of the event and read organizer Mike Barrera's reflections.
Brochures from CRC’s
- Communion at Evergreen Ministries – A brochure that both explains the process at this church to worshippers and encourages families as they talk about communion with their children at home.
- The Lord’s Supper – A brochure from Eastern Avenue CRC that provides helpful information for worshippers of all ages and includes answers to practical questions such as: “What is the Lord’s Supper?” “What happens during the Lord’s Supper?” “What could I tell a child during the Lord’s Supper, to make the feast more meaningful for him or her?” and more.
- What Does Harderwyk Say About The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper? – A brochure describing the practices at this church regarding welcoming children to the table.