As a pastor and mom of two young children, Rev. Kelly Smith had a rare Sunday off in January and wanted to find a way to worship WITH her kids from home, but she found few options.
Rev. Kelly Smith
“I know some churches are doing children's sermons during streaming/virtual worship, but it's just not the same,” she said. “Jeremiah (her 5-year-old) has done Zoom Sunday School since September, but that's not worship -- and I want my kids to learn how important worship is in our lives.”
Because she “knew there were other clergy out there who felt their churches were struggling to find ways to connect with kids during Covid,” Pastor Kelly decided to do something about it. With help from some clergy colleagues recruited through Facebook, she began producing a series of Lenten Kids Worship videos.
“About 10 or 12 clergy from our Conference have worked with me on different parts, and even a seminary friend from North Texas joined in,” she said.
As senior pastor of two smaller-membership churches and associate pastor of Calvary UMC in Pittsburgh, she designed the series especially as a tool for smaller congregations to reach out to kids.
“My hope is these 20-25 minute worship times can be used for families in addition to the ways in which parents already connect to their churches. It’s meant as a worship supplement for kids and families,” she said.
“I did my own kids’ worship that was much briefer during Advent for Calvary and used that as a springboard,” she explained. She taught herself editing and production as she went along.
The videos each have a countdown game or dance introduction, greetings from pastors who are participating or using the videos for their congregations, kids’ worship videos from sources such as Media House Worship, which included streaming as part of their licensing during the pandemic, and a story or teaching moment by a pastor, sometimes assisted by children.
“We've had positive feedback from families. I send the videos out directly to the clergy for them to include on their church's media sites,” she explained.