A Summer of Worshiping Together—Let the Children Come!

A Summer of Worshiping Together

Summer will be quickly upon us. It’s a time for families to experience a change of pace—an opportunity to explore a variety of adventures and activities with our children. Many churches also take advantage of this time to provide families and children with new ministry experiences. But here is something I would like both church and family to consider this summer: How about prioritizing and encouraging families together in worship this summer. Yes, the whole family—parents sitting along with their children (let’s say 4 years old and up as a reasonable goal) during the weekly corporate worship service.

For many churches, this is already the norm… but maybe there are parents who need some extra encouragement and practical help. Or, maybe your church has not encouraged this and you want to think through and revaluate that decision. In the next several posts, I will be highlighting helpful information from Pastor David Michael’s seminar, “’Let The Children Come To Me’ in Worship,” in which he articulated four benefits of having children experience the corporate worship service:

  • A Summer of Worshiping TogetherThere is spiritual benefit for children who participate.
  • Attending the worship service involves children in the most central, most regular, most valuable, and most corporate activity of the church.
  • It provides children with an intergenerational experience, and thus the opportunity to be influenced, and to benefit from the example of others, especially their parents.
  • It facilitates the discipleship of our children.

Here is what Pastor David had to say about the first point:

  • There is spiritual benefit for children who participate in the worship service.

This is the most important reason to encourage the participation of children in the worship service. Though some elements of the service may not be fully understood by children, the reality is that there are inescapable spiritual realities present in the corporate gathering of God’s people. Some of these include:

The Holy Spirit is present when the church is gathered.

Matthew 18:20—“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Children have come to faith sitting through a worship service. They can experience the conviction of the Spirit and the presence of God in a church service, even though they cannot understand all the words of a song or sermon. God is not hindered by the maturity or cognitive development of a child. God can move in the hearts of the very young, even when something isn’t “age appropriate.”

John 16:13a—When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…

The Word of God is powerful, and it has influence over any “soul and spirit.”

Hebrews 4:12—[The Word is] living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

There are intangible aspects in the service that children sense and learn from, even if they are not understanding all the words. Earnestness, bigness, seriousness, joy, and the intensity experienced in the worship service communicates that what is being talked about or sung about is really important.

John Piper has stated this point well:

There is a sense of solemnity and awe which children should experience in the presence of God. This is not likely to happen in children’s church. Is there such a thing as children’s thunder or children’s lightning or the crashing of the sea “for children”?

A deep sense of the unknown and the mysterious can rise in the soul of a sensitive child in solemn worship—if his parents are going hard after God themselves. A deep moving of the magnificence of God can come to the young, tender heart through certain moments of great hymns or “loud silence” or authoritative preaching. These are of immeasurable value in the cultivation of a heart that fears and loves God.

(From John and Noël Piper’s article titled, “The Family: Together in God’s Presence, January 1, 1996, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-family-together-in-gods-presence)

Children learn more than we think they do.

Again John Piper instructs us:

Children absorb a tremendous amount that is of value. And this is true even if they say they are bored….Music and words become familiar. The message of the music starts to sink in. The form of the service comes to feel natural. The choir makes a special impression with a kind of music the children may hear at no other time. Even if most of the sermon goes over their heads, experience shows that children hear and remember remarkable things.

(From John and Noël Piper’s article titled, “The Family: Together in God’s Presence, January 1, 1996, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-family-together-in-gods-presence)

I love the lasting legacy of immeasurable benefits that my own children have from experiencing the corporate worship service from a young age (4 years old and up). As a parent or as a church, why would we ever want to withhold this wonderful means of God’s grace and blessing?

Let the children come!

 

Read the Full Children in the Church Service Series
Part 1: A Summer of Worshiping Together—Let the Children Come!
Part 2: Including Our Children in the Central Activity of the Church
Part 3: Inviting Children to Experience Worship of God
Part 4: Inviting Children as a Means of Discipleship
Part 5: “Let Them Come”—Help for Church and Parents

 

Written by Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson

Jill Nelson is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher and author. She has taught Sunday School for over 20 years and writes God-centered curriculum for Children Desiring God.

One Response to “A Summer of Worshiping Together—Let the Children Come!”

  1. Iris Rauda May 1, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    Thank you! this is really good to understand as a children ministry volunteer and as a parent. I really like to have my children with me in worship time with the whole church even if sometimes my little one is very distracted but I see how he joins everybody by singing and I really like seeing that.

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