Church Blog

Children who worship become adults who worship

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What is happening on Sunday morning in the Lord’s Day worship service? Last Sunday we said three things:

  1. We remember that we are created to worship. Genesis 2:1-3.
  2. We participate in the re-creation of all things in the resurrection. Acts 20:7; Luke 24:1-6.
  3. We anticipate the new creation in the new Heaven and new Earth. Rev. 1:9-11.

Sunday worship sets the pattern for our lives. Sunday shapes Monday through Saturday.

Admittedly, this is seeing things only from a human perspective. From a divine perspective, on the Lord’s Day, God receives the worship He both deserves and demands. We will discuss this is much greater detail at The Table, starting on October 4.

Children Who Worship

This Sunday, September 10, we will return to our long-time patterns of keeping more of our children in worship with us. Specifically, children will worship with us from 3rd grade and above. This brings a change for those children 3rd grade to 5th grade and it brings a change for all of the adults in worship as well.

Before we speak further as to the function of younger children in the service, return just a few lines above and remember two things.

  1. God deserves and demands worship. This includes the worship of believing children.
  2. Worship shapes our lives in the created world, by resurrection and towards heaven. This is exactly what we want for our children.

These reasons alone are enough for us to lean in to the responsibility of training our children to worship so that they become adults who worship.

Adults Who Train Children to Worship

We began this process of transition one year ago. Since then, we have trained parents in their responsibility to raise their children to be believing adults. This responsibility is given by God to parents (see Ephesians 6:1-2) and is not usurped by the church. The church serves to train and equip parents for their God given task.

Parents have taken part in two sessions:

Shepherding the Child’s Heart, by Ted Tripp. This focused on the parental responsibility to not just discipline, but to shepherd towards adult faithfulness, from the inside out. Regarding Sunday, that means that teaching our children to worship is a job that take place all week long. Children learn to obey, to sit and to listen in 100 different situations at home before they ever arrive at church.

Family Worship, by Donald Whitney. This discussion taught us that training in worship is also a parental task and it gave us a helpful and basic form to use around our tables at home: read, pray and sing.

This is our culture, this is who we are. By bringing children back into worship, we are declaring to God and to everyone, that we are taking seriously this responsibility both on Sunday and all week long.

What does this look like on Sunday?

First, adults in the service who do not have children in this age group may find themselves a little distracted as we learn to do this together. Let me remind you of something important as your Pastor (and as the Pastor of these children). These are our kids, not “their kids” and never “those kids.” What they think of Jesus and of His church for the rest of their lives will be shaped by us. Be patient. Love them and their parents. Offer to help as soon as you sit down – don’t wait until there is an issue. And pray, pray, pray. Pray for the heart and soul of the children. Pray for the ability and patience of the parents.

Parents, you are welcome in the service and so is your child. We are here to worship God together. Seek diligently to apply what we have sought to teach you between Sundays so that your children are ready for worship. Take advantage of wisdom of other adults and the suggestions given by those who have been there before, like these practical suggestions from Noël Piper. At any time during the service, you have permission to take your kids out for a moment and then bring them back in when ready. It is yours to discern between fidgeting and running, between noises and screaming.

Let us all remember, that is a long-term project, not just one Sunday. God deserves worship and we are preparing the next generation to worship Him. This is about God, not about us or even about our children. And we know, that the greatest good we can give our children is to train them in the joys of corporate worship. Our children will be shaped into worshipers as they worship along with us and as they see us worshiping wholeheartedly over time.