Q Are children’s bulletins worth making? As a part-time children’s ministry director, I already have plenty of things to get ready for Sunday. But if the bulletins are valuable, I’m happy to do it.

A Your question is a good one. Children’s bulletins sometimes seem like just a clever way to keep kids quiet during worship. That really isn’t the goal, though. The goal is faith formation. So, can children’s bulletins help with that? Yes, they can.

Bulletins for adults generally do two things: they inform the congregation about upcoming events or prayer requests, and they serve as a guide through the church’s liturgy. Children’s bulletins can serve in a similar ways: as a framework for children to understand what is going on in the worship service and to be able to more fully participate. This can be accomplished with a simplified order of worship or by questions or activities that specifically relate to the worship service. With our third- and fourth-graders we include suggestions like these: “List three people the pastor prayed for today”; “Draw two pictures that show what you heard in the sermon”; or “When the pastor asks us to ‘pass the peace,’ what words did people use when they shook your hand or someone else’s hand?”

These kinds of questions and activities don’t just keep kids quiet. They actually help them begin to understand that the things we do in worship are intentional. A good children’s bulletin helps kids tune in to what is going on in a worship service.

About the Author

Laura Keeley is a regional catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries and director of children’s ministries at 14th St. CRC in Holland, Mich. Robert Keeley is professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance education at Calvin Seminary.