We believe that House Church is one of the best ways that parents can model discipleship as they carry out the great commission. Children learn by seeing their parents in action, such as serving, evangelizing, and maturing in their faith. Thus, House Church is a great avenue through which parents can spiritually influence and pass on their faith to their children.
Kids House Church
- Children will learn to worship from their parents and other adults in the HC. This is modeling.
- Children will learn how to be still and honor this time with God (praise, sharing and prayer). This is worship.
- Children will learn how to share praise reports and prayer requests and it will become a natural habit for them. This is an opportunity for parents/adults to know what is going on in each child’s life and heart. This is fellowship.
- Most importantly, parents and HC members will be covering their children with prayer. This is relying on God.
- A weekly Children’s HC time is a great opportunity for parents to engage with their children spiritually. This is an important training ground for many parents who have never taught kids about God’s truth. Parents will have an opportunity to teach and model for their children in HC.
- Shepherd couples should push children’s HC as something that is a privilege for all member parents to participate in. The Shepherd couple will have to model and express enthusiasm in how to lead children during HC. The Shepherd or Shepherd’s Wife can also rotate to teach and facilitate the Children’s HC time.
- Enjoy your time with the children and do not think of it as a chore. Remember that your motivation for teaching your children is God’s given purpose (Deut. 6). It is the gospel that compels you to reach the hearts of all people, those in desperate need of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5). The best evangelism opportunity is to those that are closest to you, starting with your own children.
- Know that you, the parent, will have the greatest influence in your child’s life. Why not leverage that influence to teach, model and live out the gospel in front of your kids! This is important enough to sacrifice your time and energy!
- Ask for help if you need it. Ask others how to manage or lead a group of children if you are having a hard time. More experienced parents and church staff members can and will help you manage the children in your HC.
II. Welcome and praise songs with kids
(1 to 2 songs), you can use children’s songs or use adult Christian songs – up to each HC.
Before you start singing, make sure all the kids are sitting in front (or standing if they are doing children’s praise) of either their parents or another adult. Do not let your child wander around because we are teaching them to sit still and listen during this time. This will be hard at first if they are not used to doing this on a regular basis. However, once they know that you are serious and you implement this for a few months, then it will become a habit for them.
III. Sharing time for each child
Two things each child should share:
- One thing they are thankful for
- One thing they need prayer for
Helpful tips for Children’s HC time:
- Prepare well before HC begins
- Clear schedule
- Quickly move from one activity to the next
- Have all children participate
- Have older kids help the younger ones
- Be firm
- If a child misbehaves, have the child’s parent discipline them right there during HC
If the child is too young to articulate his or her own thoughts (probably less than 2 years old), then parents must provide the answers for them. Before HC, parents can prepare one thing your child is thankful for and one thing that they need prayer for. Once a child is able to communicate on his or her own, please prepare the child before HC to share his or her thoughts.
Even if your HC has only an unborn child, please pray for the unborn child as a HC.
Shepherds: You will have to facilitate this time well so please make sure you summarize what each child has shared. You will also need to help them stay on task.
For example, a child could start to talk about his or her toy and go on about that for a while if you don’t intervene. Try to help them focus on what they are thankful for and what they need prayer for. Or a preschooler might say something like, “I’m thankful for Spiderman this week!” That response is okay but in addition to being thankful for their toy or imaginary characters, try to direct them to more real-life things (e.g. parents, friends, learning about Jesus)
After each child has shared, the HC as a whole will pray for the children. Make sure to have the kids sit with their parents because we want the parents to get used to blessing their children through prayer. The other HC members can gather around the families and join in prayer.
IV. Children are dismissed for their own HC time and sharing
Parents who are rotating for that month or week will take the children and teach the Bible lesson.
All New Life member parents should rotate within their HC and have an opportunity to teach their own child. This is the vision of the New Life Kids, that parents would be the primary disciplers of their own children.
First, set up a parent rotation (members of NLF) in which both parents (if available) are taking turns teaching because we do not want the same person to miss their HC time every week.
The material provided by church is just a suggested tool for parents to use. Please feel free to use other material as long as it is biblically sound.
Schedule for children if you are using church materials
- Play DVD
- Read the Bible Story
- Circle time: ask them questions about the Bible story
- Circle time: ask kids to share prayer needs
- Circle time: hold hands then pray
If you are not using church materials, make sure you do the last three bullet points.
V. Extra time
If the adults are still having their HC time, then give kids free time but try to make sure they are playing quietly, so that they don’t disturb the adults. If the children are very young, have them get ready for bed or have them play on their own (playing board games, movie, reading, etc.).
- How can children be incorporated into House Church ministry?
- There will be a separate children’s program for them in each HC.
- What is the curriculum that each House Church can use?
- Since each HC is autonomous, they have the freedom to use or create any curriculum each week for their HC.
- Creating or finding a House Church curriculum is too hard and time consuming. Can the “big church” provide?
- The “big church” will suggest a HC curriculum that can be used by each HC. The curriculum materials will be posted online so that each HC can access them. (Currently, we are giving out DVD series and Bible stories to HCs that want them.) In the future, we will be posting all the HC materials online for our parents to download and print as needed.
- Who will oversee the children when adults are in House Church?
- Parents who are members of the church will take on the responsibility of overseeing the children’s program during HC.
- Won’t parents be too tired to do this?
- Yes, but we believe that parents are the primary disciplers of their own children and it will be worth the investment. We suggest a rotation for parents so they won’t have to prepare and teach every Friday. (Suggestion: the hosting parents implement the HC for kids. One parent prepares food and the other parent prepares and implements HC time for the children.
- What do we do when you have a large age gap in your HC (e.g. preschool to 5th grade)?
- Since HC is a family, we suggest that the older kids participate and help the adult parent(s) who is leading the HC time. This will also be a great opportunity to build leadership for the older children as they help facilitate or even lead certain portions of the lesson with parental guidance.
- What do we do when we finish early?
- Most weeks, you will have extra time. The HC lessons typically last about 45 minutes to 1 hour. And if you finish early, you can have them to play quietly or have prepared craft activities for the kids to work on as adults finish their sharing time. If there is a movie that is appropriate, you can show that as well.
- Where would the children HC be?
- Ideally, if the hosting family has a separate living room or a larger bedroom for the children to be separated, it will be most beneficial. If not, then have them separated as far away as possible from the adults so that noise will not be an issue.
- What if after the children HC time is over, they want to go to their parents?
- Ideally, we would recommend that children stay in there own area because they can be a distraction for some adults. This is something that the parents of each HC can decide.
- What should I do about my children’s bedtime routine during house church?
- Once the NLK lesson and free playtime is over at 10:00pm, the house church takes a break during adult sharing time for about 10 minutes. During this time, kids brush their teeth, change into their pajamas and get ready for bed. Parents who are in NLK house church rotation implement the bedtime routine. This is an example of how one house church coordinates their children’s bedtime routine:
- On a laptop or ipad, play a kid’s TV show or movie for about 15 minutes that is calming and slow.
- Then switch from to lullaby music on YouTube and you play this as they are all falling asleep.
- Once all the kids are asleep, those parents will join in during house church sharing time and they will share.
- This benefits parents because they can share intimately without being distracted by their kids. Not only that, singles and your VIP families in your house church will greatly appreciate this as well.
- Just like any routine, it will take discipline and time. It took this house church about 6 to 8 weeks until all the kids were used to it. Try this out and stick to a routine that works for your house church.