The Generations in Worship

Watching and Listening

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

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 Truth78.

2 Responses to “The Generations in Worship”

  1. Brenda Harmsen June 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    Thank You, So helpful to me to see that a Godly man says that this is right. When our kids were young in church they didn’t talk, but would often want to sit on our laps. We smiled and always let them, part way through the sermon they would switch laps. My husband & I loved this part of church. This continued till about 6 & 8. I think it wasn’t comfortable for them anymore, so it stopped. Throughout those years a few “Godly women” made sure to tell me that our two sons should sit in their own chairs out of obedience. These boys drove to church with us to do work 3 times a week, 1/2 hour each way. We didn’t want them to hate church, but to feel loved while they were at church. Our grown children, now in their 20’s, go to church by their own choice and to their own Christian churches. I’m so glad I ignored those “helpful” women. I’m glad to read this article, so important for young parents. It’s very hard to ignore advice given at church. I’m sure God will help more young parents see your writing, and we’ll pray.

  2. Beatriz June 29, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    As a young parent with young kids, I was encouraged. I felt that worshiping with my kids was important but was still wrestling through some thoughts but listening to this I am more convinced that this is important. Thank you.

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