Why we value children’s participation in the entire worship service beginning with Kindergarten
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
2 TIMOTHY 3:14-15
Perhaps today more than any other time in American history, it is critical that children learn to love the Lord their God and firmly believe His commandments through the faithful testimony and teaching of their parents and spiritual guardians. As Moses exhorted the Israelite
adults in preparation for entry into the Promised Land, this testimony must be a consistent visual and verbal expression of their love for the Lord with their whole heart, soul, and strength. Like those adults in Timothy’s childhood, parents and spiritual guardians have the opportunity to instill
lifelong confidence in what is learned and believed about Christ Jesus by displaying their enduring faith before their children.
At MacArthur Blvd. Baptist Church, we want to clearly support and encourage you as you guide the children under your authority along the road of discipleship “for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” One facet of discipleship is living a Life of Worship, and we are identifying the corporate
worship service as the primary environment outside of your home where you and your children will engage in the instruction and practice of worshiping our Lord and God.
By participating in the entire corporate gathering, children will be led to worship through prayer, worship through song, and worship through Bible teaching.
It has already been our practice in worship to regularly provide opportunities for children to both hear others pray as well as to pray alongside their family. Through these active experiences our sons and daughters are learning to ascribe specific attributes to God as a natural component of worship. They are learning that prayer is more dynamic than just asking from God; prayer is exalting and celebrating who God is and what He is doing.
Worshiping through music and singing aligns our emotions and affections with the Lord through the proclamation of godly truths. Whether or not our children hear beautiful singing from our lips or their own is not the primary point. Our children are learning that singing strongly and responding physically are normal, enjoyable means to display love for our God. They are experiencing the satisfaction of community praise as it can only be enjoyed in the fellowship of the diverse body of Christ.
Like worship through prayer and song, our children need to develop a connection to and a desire for worship through Bible teaching. As parents and spiritual guardians, we must help dispel the myths being communicated to our children: 1) worship ends when Bible teaching begins and 2) God’s Word is only engaging for adults. Both subtly and directly, we are in danger of training our sons and daughters to perceive worship through Bible teaching as irrelevant and boring. To avoid these pitfalls, we must intentionally and consistently lead the children under our care to personally interact with the teaching of God’s Word.
One way to support our children’s connection to worship through Bible teaching is using Preparing for Worship. This resource can be accessed on the church website or can be received on Wednesday’s by email upon request. Preparing for Worship contains the message title, the focal passage, and key themes that will be presented the following Sunday. By investing some time in advance of the worship service, we can build valuable background context and vocabulary comprehension for our children.
Whereas Preparing for Worship supports understanding, Responding to Worship guides personal action. These two resources are conveniently packaged together. Since our pastors typically preach sequentially through a text, weekly review not only personalizes what has been learned but bolsters the foundation for future comprehension. Both of these activities will also help our children transfer the relevance of God’s Word from the church to their daily life.
The most recent tool made available to our children is intentionally designed to maintain their participation throughout the preaching portion of our corporate worship. Growing in Worship provides an attractive platform with two levels of scaffolding for children of various ages and abilities.
Each week, key terms are provided for children to listen for throughout the message. Additionally, space is provided to record the main points being identified within the scripture passage. There is even a section for children to write down specific questions they need answered or words that need
further explanation from you after the service.
Tips for Success
Growing in Worship is a tool for our children that works best when we actively guide its use. You can help our children with this teaching tool by modeling note taking using a format that works well for you; relate the notes you are taking to their notes to affirm or direct their progress during the service. You are also encouraged to verbally teach in the moment. We want all our parents to operate with the freedom to provide supportive instruction in the immediate context of worship. Parents (and children), please do so in a volume and tone that respects the atmosphere of worship for others. Congregation, please remember our commitment during Parent and Child Dedication to be a part of raising all the children of MacArthur Blvd “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4); show grace to those around you training their children to lovingly worship our God through His Word.
Intentionally and purposefully working together, our church and parents can cultivate a lifelong love for God manifested through genuine worship in the lives of our children. We can specifically battle a trend the church in America is experiencing where disconnected students and young adults are walking away from the Lord and His people. Instead, we can foster an environment where our children personally “taste and see that the LORD is good!” (Psalm 34:8) and desire to celebrate His goodness through a Life of Worship.