Here is an excellent message by Pastor Bud Burk (Pastor for Child & Youth Discipleship, Bethlehem Baptist Church) for everyone in the church, especially parents and pastors regarding children being present with their parents in the corporate worship service. A few excerpts for your encouragement…
An Honest Word
As a parent, it can be hard having children in the worship service, especially in the early years. I know. All the vision casting and the practical application does not necessarily remove the challenge. Please love your children however, in a way that welcomes sacrifice for a season and it may last 10 years. Sacrifice? For example:
- “I am not getting as much out of the sermon as I used to. I am not getting fed like I used to”: I know.
- Consider this: God is giving you an opportunity to worship him in the worship service in a distinct way during this temporary season and when that opportunity is over (kids grow up/mature) it will never return again.
- Transformation happens to parents when their young children are with them in the worship service
- Get up out of the service/needed correction: humbling, but rest in Christ as you walk down the aisle saying “I am in Christ.” A distinct gift to parents in a distinct season.
- Patience testing: Fruit of the Spirit. A distinct gift to parents in a distinct season.
- Therefore, as my child presses my humility, patience, self–control, forbearing love and … it is for my good for God is wielding his grace in my heart in those moments. I am becoming more like Jesus. This is worship. It is just a different expression of worship than what I am used to. Embrace the sovereignly placed sacrifice and see what God has for you in Christ.
If you are like me … when those years are over, you will long for a little one to sit next to you in worship.
Years of Watching
- Watching your silent attention to the heralding; the preaching of the Word
- Where else will your children see you receive the ministry of the Word—this is the only place
- Watching you smile and nod or shake your head with a sad countenance
- Watching you read your Bible as the preacher preaches
- Watching you look up when his voice gets loud
- Watching the pastor smile with joy or have an earnest look on his face
- Watching you sing
- Watching you raise your arms and hands during worship in song: welcome and exalt
- Watching mom sit down holding her head in her hands as everyone else remains standing, and seeing dad rest his hand on her shoulder
- Watching you eat the Lord’s Supper
- Watching you holding the cup and looking at it
- Watching you holding the bread
- Watching you open up your Bible and read something during the Supper
- Watching you close your eyes during most of the Supper
Years of Hearing
- Hearing the passionate Spirit-filled heralding; the preaching of God’s Word
- Hearing words like “Jesus,” “gospel,” and “glory” over and over for years
- Hearing words like “compassion,” “mercy,” “grace” over and over for years
- Hearing words like “repentance,” “sin,” “humility,” “dependence” over and over for years
- Hearing you and others say “amen” during the heralding; the preaching of God’s Word
- Hearing you say “O Lord, help me,” under your breath
- Hearing you say “Thank You, Jesus,” under your breath
- Hearing the loudness and quietness of the preacher
- Hearing him address parents … children
- Hearing his joy when talking about home, and home is a Person…home is Jesus…I think he wants to go home
- Hearing his brokenhearted gladness when talking about his sin, Jesus and the gospel
- Hearing his peace and contentment when talking about the presence of the Spirit and the wisdom, power and love of the Father
- Hearing many voices sing praise to God
- Sometimes it is a quiet song
- Sometimes it is a loud song
- Sometimes it is without instruments
- Hearing prayer
- Listening to the pastor pray to God whom he believes is really listening
- Listening to the prayers of praise
- Listening to silence, during confession
- All–church praise
Today I am casting the vision for our children to be in the worship service, not primarily for what they directly receive (although I could). I am casting the vision for what they see you receive in the worship service.
- You all are training children
- What they see
- What they hear
You can watch or read the entire sermon here.
Photo Credit: Madeline Hunt at Sofia Hilder Photography