Recently, I had the great joy and privilege of holding my 8-month-old grandson in my arms during a family gathering. His big eyes were busy observing everything around him …
- Family, other well-known faces and strangers were seated all around him.
- People were bowing their heads, with eyes closed, being very quiet.
- A man up front, with his eyes closed, was talking earnestly.
- Grandma stood up with everyone else and started singing, and some people raised their hands.
- The man up front opened a book and read from it while everyone else listened.
- A basket was passed around, and people put something in it.
As you have probably guessed, the “family” I am referring to is the family of Christ, gathering to worship the Lord together. Little baby Nate was being exposed to the Sunday morning corporate worship service—a crucial element of family life for every believer. Even at 8 months old, he is seeing and hearing the normal rhythms of life in the body of Christ. What a privilege to expose him to this at such a young age! And though his parents take Nate to the “restless” child room during the sermon, he is gaining something invaluable during his time in the worship service. And hopefully, with intentional training and encouragement, by the time he is 4 or 5 years old he will find it perfectly natural to experience the entire service along with his parents.
Here are a few thoughts from Pastor David Michael:
… consider three of the convictions that feed our desire for children to be present when the church gathers for worship.
- Children are absorbing more from a worship service than we think they are.
- Lifetime habits and attitudes are more easily formed and more likely to endure if established early in life.
- The habit of regularly participating in corporate worship.
- The habit of listening. If we help children develop good listening skills when they are young, even if they do not understand everything being said, they are more likely to benefit from the ministry of the Word as their minds mature and are able to grasp more complex ideas.
- The habit of self-control.
- Important values are reinforced.
- Like every human being, children are created for worship, and when they gather with us for worship they contribute in ways that are unique to children and can benefit the whole assembly.
- The presence of children in our worship services helps reinforce to our children that they are included in our fellowship, and the Body Christ is established by faith and not by age.
- The presence of children in our worship services also reminds the church body of our responsibility to teach our children to fear the Lord and diligently teach them what we have learned of God and the life of faith.
As a member of the family of Christ, I am so excited that Pastor David and Sally Michael will be addressing this extremely important topic at our National Conference this year. After attending these two seminars, I believe you will be convinced (if you are not so already) that not only should children be in the worship service, but also the great blessing it is to have families together in worship.
“Let the Children Come to Me” in Worship (led by David Michael)
Like every human being, children were created for worship, and one of the strategies for raising a generation of worshippers is to include them in worship services of the church. Another strategy is to create a separate, more “child-friendly” worship experience for children until there is sufficient maturity and understanding to worship with the adults. In this seminar, we consider a biblical perspective on this topic and some practical strategies for welcoming and involving children in the corporate worship services of the church.
Strategies for Engaging Children in the Worship Service (led by Sally Michael)
This seminar will discuss the difficulties of involving children in the worship service and propose solutions to solve those difficulties. Practical suggestions will be given that parents can use to enfold their children in corporate worship, as well as strategies children’s ministry leaders can employ to train and encourage parents to have their children involved in the worship service.