What is in a church service lesson plan

Many people have a fixed idea of what a church service is like, possibly originating from a funeral service.

But is that correct? Church services are so varied, for example the music ranges from an old organ right up to some musicians resembling a rock group.

The atmosphere of a church service also varies greatly from the hushed voices of a cathedral to energetic preachers.

In this What is in a church service lesson plan, the children can act out a church service in the classroom and be introduced to some different styles.

What is in a church service lesson plan. Very lively church service led by rock style group.
What is in a church service lesson plan Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

This teacher’s copy of the What is in a Christian service at church? Lesson Plan is printer-friendly.

1. Resources for what is in a church service lesson plan:

While the children are acting out a service some hymns and songs can be played from YouTube – for example:

The children’s talk is also from Youtube: ‘The Choice Is Yours’ by Douglas Talks (opens in a new tab).

Attention please be aware that by clicking ‘play’ your browser will load all of the Youtube Cookies. Clicking ‘play’ means you are consenting to these Cookies.

Prayers could be projected so the children could see them and speak them out when required.

2. Starter for what is in a church service lesson plan:

Q. Do you think a worship service at church would be boring?

Yes, there are many churches which have services that would be boring for children and young people because they provide nothing for them.

But there are many other churches which hold family services and these do cater for children.

Also, many churches have a children’s talk which could involve puppets and then the children can be taken out of the service to have a fun time together.

We are now going to pretend to have a mix of a fairly formal church service along with a lively one.

Q. What does the word ‘formal’ mean?

Formal services are set so all the things that are said are known beforehand, or the order of the service is set.

3. Main teaching for what is in a church service lesson plan:

(Teachers note: Set out the classroom like an Anglican Church and take a tour, which involves looking at certain elements of a service – not the whole thing:
Need a Vicar, two ‘welcomers’ at the door, and someone to read the Bible from the lectern).

The Vicar is in the vestry.
The congregation comes in through the porch and are warmly greeted by the welcomers at the door, and they sit on the pews.
Some Anglican Churches and many other Churches don’t have pews, they have ordinary chairs instead.

The Vicar walks from the vestry and leads the Service from the front (between the pulpit and lectern) and welcomes everyone.

The order of the Service may be taken word for word from a Prayer Book by the Vicar, church leader, or person taking the service, or just a few items can be read and the rest will be more informal and not set.

A regular custom is for the wording in plain type to be said by the leader, and bold type said by the congregation.

Example prayer:

Christ the light of the world, has come to dispel the darkness of our hearts.
In his light let us examine ourselves and confess our sins.

Book of Common Prayer by the Church of England

A creed can be said. A creed is a declaration of faith.

Example creed:

Let us declare our faith in God.
We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us with power from on high.
We believe in one God;
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer by the Church of England

The vicar announces: “Please stand and we will sing the old hymn: Be Thou My Vision – the words will be on the screen”

‘Be Thou My Vision’ by Robin Mark
What is in a church service lesson plan. A formal cathedral service.
What is in a church service lesson plan Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The vicar announces: “Please be seated. We are going to watch a children’s talk now:

Someone from the congregation reads a Bible passage, announcing the Bible reference first:
“John chapter 10 verses 7 to 11”

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you I am the door of the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

John chapter 10:7-11 NIV

The Vicar gives a talk (known as a sermon or message), which should be based on the reading from the Bible.
In the past, this sermon was given from the pulpit, but often now the Vicar remains where he or she is.

The vicar announces: “Please watch this video of the modern song: ‘In Christ alone’.

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

If it is a ‘Communion Service‘ the Vicar goes up to the Altar, and then the congregation go up to the altar rail (which separates the Chancel from the Sanctuary) where they either kneel or stand ready to accept the bread and the wine as a symbol of Jesus’ death.

(Teachers note: This is explained in the Bible in Matthew 26: 26-28 which says:
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”)

Example prayer:

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.
Draw near with faith.
Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ which he gave for you,
and his blood which he shed for you.
Eat and drink in remembrance that he died for you,
and feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.”
(Teachers note: Feed on Him means to feed on His wisdom, love and power)

Book of Common Prayer by the Church of England

The congregation return to their pews or chairs.

The vicar announces: “Please stand to sing the modern song: ‘10,000 reasons’ – the words will be on the screen.

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman

The Vicar ends the service.
Example prayer:

Be with us Lord, as we go out into the world.
May the lips that have sung Your praises, always speak the truth;
may the ears which have heard Your Word, listen only to what is good,
and may our lives as well as our worship, be always pleasing in Your sight,
for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

Book of Common Prayer by the Church of England

Often everyone goes to have a drink, biscuits and a chat!

4. How different Churches do things:

Roman Catholic Churches tend to be very ornate, they have a lot of visual things like statues and the services are very formal and set, being written in a book.
Some Anglican Churches (Church of England) can be very similar to this, whilst others have fairly plain buildings and may have informal services.

There is a big group of churches called the Non-Conformist Churches. They are called this because they did not ‘conform’ to a government-led Church – which was the Church of England (Anglican Church) a few hundred years ago.

The Non-Conformist Churches like the Methodists, Baptists, United Reform Churches (etc) tend to meet in buildings which don’t have a spire or tower, and often the building is known as a ‘Chapel’.
The services are not read from a book, although many are very set by traditions, whilst others have informal services.
In other words, there are many different Churches which do the same things in different ways!

5. Plenary for what is in a church service lesson plan:

Q. How should you behave in a place of worship?

(Teachers note: Try to bring out that it is not just showing respect. It can also include feeling joy, excitement, being sorrowful, etc which can be right, except where it offends other people).

There is a worksheet to accompany this lesson plan:
Church items worksheet (Pictures of some things which may be found in a Church building).