In my previous blog (part 1), I shared some thoughts on worship and promised some practical tips for teaching children to engage in worship. If you don’t have kids, or that season was a while ago, please keep reading. We are a part of an amazing church community where you are an oikos aunty, cousin or nanna who has opportunity to help kids understand worship and we would love for you to comment with your own tips and experience.
Here are some of my quick tips to help position our kids to worship:
Know what you expect. Ps Ric recently said “Our Pentecostal worship is distinct because we expect to experience Him”. I love that! I believe we can expect the same for our children. God is ready and willing to speak to our children and worship is a great opportunity for us to teach our children some practical skills that will make it easier for them to hear His voice. There are practical expectations too. What practical things are within your child’s capabilities that will help them focus attention on God? For us it is stay close to us, dance, sing, watch the band, clap, stand through praise and worship or be held by us.
Position them for success. For us that means we are up the front. This is a deliberate choice for a few reasons. Everyone up the front is choosing to engage in praising and worshiping God. Everyone. My kids look up, left and right and only see people giving God all glory and honour, so that’s the only option they see for themselves at that time. They don’t see people distracted by their phone, disengaged, arms folded. Nope. Not up the front. Our kids can also see what’s going on. It’s interesting, so engagement is easy. It’s really hard to engage in praise and worship when all you see is backs of seats and people’s bums… up the front even if the drums distract them they are distracted by worship!
Explain things in age appropriate language. Before church we talk about what is going to happen. During church we whisper explanation and instruction. After church we talk about what happened and what God did. At first we look a little crazy whispering worship cues to our baby, explaining communion to someone who can’t talk, telling someone who just learned to hold their head up “shhh, we’re praying to Jesus”. But now, a few years later, we’re seeing results! Years of consistently explaining the same things with the same language each week and our son now knows what they mean.
Lead by example. Worship should look different to other times we sing. My children should be able to see there is something bigger and deeper going on here. My worship should make them ask questions. At the very least my worship should meet my expectations on their behaviour. When I first really met my Jesus I worshiped passionately. I was lost but HE FOUND ME! Gratitude overwhelmed me and it got pretty undignified. If that’s what it looked like for me to praise, then I would think, as I draw near to Him and grow deeper in my love for Him, my worship and my praise would only get more undignified, more abandoned and day by day more like the worship we will see in heaven when our revelation of Him is complete.
As we live out our extravagant worship, imagine what a generation might see. Imagine what a generation might think. Imagine how a generation might change.