How to Help Your Child During Communion

by jpserrano on April 10, 2014 · 0 comments

better view

I believe that all baptized children are welcome to the Altar. The following is a guide that will hopefully help parents with bringing their children forward to receive communion.  

First, for all children, it’s important to see what’s going on at the altar.  

There is a drama unfolding at the the table during the liturgy and like any good drama it should be seen and heard first hand.  Parents might sit in a pew closer to the front or during the meal bring your children to closer pew so they can get a better view of the altar.  If moving doesn’t sound like the right decision lift up your children so they can see from were they are in the church (like this awesome dad pictured).  If they can’t get a good view let them stand in the aisle. Basically, do whatever works for you so that the children can see what’s going on during the Eucharistic meal.

Children will need various reminders and help at varying stages of development. Here are some tips for each stage at a church that practices intinction (dipping the bread in the cup).


When a child attends worship after being baptized it’s appropriate for them to receive communion.  Here are some how to tips for giving communion to infants who are not yet eating solid foods.

  1. When walking to the altar hold your infant slightly upright with your non-dominant hand. 
  2. Receive the bread with your dominant hand.
  3. It’s proper to respond to the minister with an “amen.”  
  4. Dip the bread in either the grape juice or wine so it is slightly soaked.
  5. Carefully give your child some of the grape juice or wine from the bread.
  6. Eat the remainder of the bread and wine that you were given.
  7. Make the sign of the cross on yourselfand on your child.

Older Infants
When an infant can support their head, eat solid food, and crawl things may change slightly when receiving communion.

  1. When approaching the altar hold your infant with your non-dominant hand. Remember to keep your child at leg/arm distance from the Eucharistic Minsters so that they don’t accidentally grab/kick the plate or cup.
  2. Show them how hold out their hand to receive the bread if they’re able. 
    1. If not, receive the bread with your dominant hand. 
    2. Dip the bread in either the grape juice or wine.
    3. Carefully give your child some of the bread and grape juice or wine.
    4. Eat the remainder of the bread and wine that you were given.
  3. It’s proper to respond to the minister with an “amen.”
  4. Make the sign of the cross on yourself and on your child.

Toddlers and Preschoolers are walking, eating solid food, and able to receive communion with some assistance from you.  It’s at this stage that most instruction and communication happens. 

  1. If your toddler is willing to walk to the altar it is preferable to being held. While walking show your toddler how to extend their hands (one over the other) to receive the elements.
  2. Gently remind them to respond to the Eucharistic minister with an “amen” before you get to the front.  If your child forgets, you might remind them by saying “amen” for them in response to the minister. 
  3. If they’re still developing basic coordination, guide their hand when dipping either the grape juice or wine.  
  4. Gently remind them to be gentle when dipping.
  5. Encourage them to make the sign of the cross after they receive both bread and wine. You can do this by taking their hand and doing it with them or by modeling it yourself. 
  6. It is perfectly appropriate to quietly instruct your children in receiving communion reminding them they are receiving Jesus.Communion as you normally would

Older Children
By this time your child should be able to come to the Altar on their own.  You should continue to coach them on how to take communion when they forget or their habits become sloppy.

Here are some reminders:


  1. This is a holy time and they should be mindful of their actions. This means we are quiet and orderly.
  2. Hold your hands out one palm over the other with closed fingers. Receive, don’t grab.
  3. “Amen” is the appropriate response to the Eucharistic Minister’s statements. 
  4. Make the sign of the cross.
  5. Remind them they are meeting and receiving Jesus in the meal.

All Children
If your child suddenly wants to stop taking communion, won’t get in line, and throws a fit, don’t force them to come forward.  You can gently encourage them, but don’t make it an issue.

I hope these are helpful tips.  

Parents, what have you found to be helpful when bringing your children to communion?

Pastors, what have you found to be helpful from parents bringing their children to the Altar?



How To Win Friends And Influence People

by jpserrano on April 8, 2014 · 0 comments

How To Wins Friends is book that was written in the 1930’s by Dale Carnegie.  To some the title sounds manipulative, however the principles laid out in this book are more about being purposeful in the way you live your life.  The book is very dated in its examples and stories, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated in content.

I found the book easy to read and remember because Carnegie writes in a forward driving style that is full of stories.  As a person in ministry this is a good book to be reminded about again and again.

The principles may not make sense read only as an outline, that’s why reading the book would be better than just my outline below.  It’s an enjoyable quick read with short chapters. 

The book is divided into four section with each chapter enforcing a single principle.  Here is a summary of the books content.

Section One:
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People.


  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Section Two:
Six Ways to Make People Like You


  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other feel important—and do it sincerely.

Section Three:
How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking


  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions.  Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other persist ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Section Four:
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to the people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask Questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.  Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement.  Mae the fault seem easy to correct. 
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Have you read How To Win Friends And Influence People?  What did you think of it?



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The older I get while doing youth ministry….

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The Kingdom Of God Is Like…

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What Jimmy Fallon Has Taught Me About Ministry.

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Making changes without congregational support

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I Am A Slow Reader (the test that proves it)

Source: Staples eReader Department  The above is a reading test developed by Staples.  Click it to take the test. I have always known that I was a slow reader.  I got 189 words a minute with all 3 question correct, but I read 22% slower than the national average. How did you do? -jpserrano 

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Advent Art Project 2013

During Advent 2013 I coordinated an Art Project at Faith Lutheran Church of Castro Valley.  The idea behind the project was to create a Nativity scene using the broad range of talents we have in the church.  I passed out 14 canvases with limited instructions on what should go on each canvas: Joseph, Mary, Baby […]

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