Worship in a Box

Church #6. Meet Michelle Basner-Ketepa. She is the Minister of Faith Formation at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. With an average worship attendance of 300, Basner-Ketepa is working hard to integrate children into the life of the worship service.

She comments on how Beautiful Savior’s has been slowly integrating a cross + generational model. They now have an education hour that has addressed some integrated learning. But Basner-Ketepa says, “In worship, where children are welcome and being traditional service, we have a learning curve.”

Like many churches, Basner-Ketepa was frustrated with the traditional “busy bag” that is geared to keep kids busy and quiet. For her, this was not enough. She wanted to find a way to keep kids engaged throughout the worship service.

So she made three small moves:

  1. For the Time for Children or Children’s Sermon, she moved into biblical storytelling. She shifted the focus from object lessons that usually go over children’s heads and into congregational wide storytelling. Everyone then learns the story at the same time.
  2. Kids wiggle in worship and their bodies need to move. To help facilitate movement, the congregation added a “prayground” in the back of the sanctuary. It’s an activity table geared for the youngest participants.
  3. Basner-Ketepa created worship kits. Twelve in all, these boxes help families and children walk through the liturgical pieces of worship. Not only are they quiet activities with movement but these kits have proven to help kids stay engaged in worship. See sample kit and instructions below:

Basner-Ketepa says, “We are working hard on integrating children into the life of worship. It may not seem like ‘out of the box’ activities but right now we are poking holes.” Change is hard but what’s at stake – people knowing Jesus – makes the changes worthwhile.

Why does it matter that we pay attention on how we integrate children in worship? It matters because of Ephesians 4:4-5, where Paul writes: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Kids are part of the body of Christ, and we all have something to offer, gifts to share. Sometimes we just need to go the extra mile and pay attention to the details that matter to the various age groups so that worship is meaningful for all.

For more information on this story, contact Michelle Basner-Ketepa at {email} or 248-646-5041

5 thoughts on “Worship in a Box

    • Hi Jennifer! You will need to connect Michelle. Her info is at the bottom of the blog post. Email or phone. She would be happy to respond to you!

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    • Hello! Please feel free to contact Michelle directly for a hard copy. Her info – email and phone number – are at the end of the blog post. I know she would be happy to answer your questions. Thanks for reading!

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