The moment just before a church service starts is one of favourite things. As the band walks out, my heart is so expectant. God is about to do something. He could do anything! The band starts and God moves among His people.
Then another favourite thing happens: I get to worship God with my children.
I love holding my kids while I’m lost in God’s presence. I am building lifelong associations – our children will associate worship with intimacy, closeness, loving embrace, comfort, a kiss, a hug. I can ask Holy Spirit to give me words to whisper in my child’s ear to guide them in worship at this moment. They see and hear up close what my worship looks like. They are learning the words as I sing them into their ear. They hear me sing my own song and learn that they don’t need special words to talk to God. They can ask a question and I can answer them.
Helping our children to engage in worship has been a priority for us. At Bible College they taught us “you are the worship leader in your row”. We try to remember that, as parents, we are the worship leaders in our family too. We believe setting our children up for a lifetime of worship starts with teaching them to worship from day one. Our goal is to position our children now so that, when they are adults, a heart seeking His presence is a natural part of who they are.
Worship is powerful, it is beautiful and it changes me. It aligns my spirit with my God – my spirit and my soul need to connect with my Saviour. When I teach my kids to engage in worship, not only does it open up this amazing experience and encounter to them, it also frees me to do the same. I don’t need to worry about what my kids are doing or where they are. They are in my arms, holding my hand or at my feet. They are watching people worship, learning how to worship and catching glimpses of His Spirit.
As their head rests on my chest or they stand holding my hand as I worship I can’t help but think my child might catch a little overflow of His presence that I am experiencing. They might feel, see or experience a moment or drop of the undeniable tangible presence of God. Even just once. I can’t worship my way to their salvation – that’s not a thing. This is no guarantee that they will choose to follow Jesus, but I will position them in the most likely place to experience God every chance I get and pray my heart out in the between time.
Our family is in a fortunate position; I have been in kids ministry for a very long time, practicing and honing discipleship techniques on other people’s children. Similarly my husband spent decades in youth ministry learning how to get some pretty crazy teenagers to focus on Jesus. In my next blog (part 2) I would love to share with you a few ideas that have worked for us both with our own children and in our experience with others.