This coming Sunday is the first week for our incoming middle schoolers to sit in service for the sermon. This is a big step that comes with significant challenges and the potential for rich rewards. 
While this is an opportunity for the entire church family to help our young people transition, it is especially an opportunity for their parents. 
Here are 6 tips for parents in helping their children transition to the main service:
  1. Be Positive- both in your own perspective and in your words. This is a great opportunity for your young person to continue learning what it means to be a part of the church. Emphasize the privilege that it is to worship with God’s people and communicate how much you enjoy these times. Your young person will be stretched and challenged and over time they will learn to feed on the nourishment of God’s word preached!
  2. Prepare- it is difficult to overestimate the importance of preparation. Part of this preparation will simply be making sure they get a enough sleep on Saturday night. In addition, you may find it helpful to talk through expectations before you leave for the Sunday gathering. Perhaps the most strategic way you can prepare your young person for the sermon is by reading the passage over and talking through it with them ahead of time. Help them become familiar with the basic ideas in the passage and encourage them to listen for how the preacher explains different parts of the passage. 
  3. Provide Tools- while note taking isn’t necessarily for everyone, it can be especially useful when someone is learning to listen to sermons. You may find it helpful to provide direction for your young person’s note taking. Encourage them to listen for repeated words or to illustrate a particular truth with a drawing. If you are a note taker allow them to copy your notes as they transition towards taking their own.
  4. Pursue Follow Up- take time to talk through the sermon with your child sometime later in the day on Sunday. Ask them questions both about content and about how God used the message to work in their hearts, convict them of sin or bring them to worship. Share with them how the message impacted you and how you want to respond to it.
  5. Be Patient- at first your young person may not seem to get a whole lot out of the sermon. They may have trouble sitting still or end up finding reasons to get up and down multiple times during the sermon. Like anything, listening to a 45 minute sermon is a learned skill. Set clear expectations but remember that it will take time. If we’re honest, we have to admit that even as adults we find it challenging at times to sit and listen attentively at times. 
  6. Pray- pray that God would give spiritual life to your child and save them. Pray that they would learn to find joy in worshiping with God’s people. Pray that they would learn to drink up the word as it’s preached and that the Spirit would use it to shape their hearts. Pray that they would love the church and above all that they would love Christ.