As much as I delight in watching a roomful of 6- and 7-years olds jubilantly singing songs of praise to God in the classroom, I am reminded of these important words from worship leader and song writer Bob Kauflin:
“Worshipping God” means different things at different ages. Younger children, who may not know God yet, may still participate enthusiastically in various external forms of worshipping God. However, we want their worship to be from the heart, and not simply a matter of conforming. They need a clear knowledge of who God is and what He has done. That includes His nature, His attributes, and His works, especially our redemption through Christ. As the Holy Spirit enables them, they will become increasingly aware of their sinfulness before God, accept His gracious gift of forgiveness through the Gospel, and be included among those who will forever be growing in their love for and worship of God. In the mean time, our job is to help them be “dazzled” by the glory of Jesus Christ (quoting Paul Tripp). For one thing that means using more songs that tell us about God than how we feel about Him.
When our seven year old raises her hands, sings out exuberantly, and pays attention to what’s going God may indeed have done a genuine work of conversion in her heart. It’s just as possible that she is comfortable with her surroundings and is trying to fit in. True motives are revealed as children grow older. As parents, we should respond to a lack of responsiveness by focusing on internal issues, not merely external ones. Our children’s greatest need is not simply to have “worship experiences” but a come to a saving knowledge of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
(“One More Thought on Training Children to Worship God,” www.worshipmatters.com)
You can read his helpful article “Training Children to Worship God” here.
(Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)