TITLE: How to Teach Children to Worship
By Lisa Huber
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As a kid growing up in a pastor’s home, I remember being in church every time the doors were open. We worshipped with hymns, a few choruses,which at that time were often songs written by the Gaithers, and thinking that in order to worship, you had to be in church and standing pretty still…because that’s how Wesleyans worshiped. There was never any of that ‘holy-rolling” stuff, even raising my hands was frowned upon as goofing around and not really behaving in church.
Today, as I watch kids in society, they are so much different than I was back then. They disappear into a world of PS3’s, MP3’s, computers, and so much more technical equipment than we ever dreamed way back when Atari was the hottest thing on the market! Our kids have so much media stimulation now. I often wonder if we can create a setting for them to worship, or at least an opportunity for them to learn where they won’t be bored and want to pull out their ipod? It can be a daunting task. Where do we make the compromise? Or do we? Are we drawing them to Him? In Psalm 100, it says, “Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.” Does this tie in as a new generation steps up to lead worship?
As this younger generation begins to take over the direction of the worship, we realize that there has to be continuous movement in our services. Sitting and listening has become a thing of the past. Movie clips, music, drama, choreographed movement (formerly dancing - shh), among other things are used to reach our kids where they are at, to draw them into the experience of worshipping. Worshipping should not have to be something they do, it needs to be something they are.
I am always blessed as I watch a group of kids singing songs of worship and praise, totally focused on God. Watching as these children fall totally in love with God, raising their hands, closing their eyes, pouring out their hearts to their Creator. Watching as the children do interpretive dance to bring worship to Jesus is an amazing opportunity to see the “new” side of worship. Would we have dreamed back then that this was a way to worship? Probably not, but today’s young people are using it to glorify Him regardless of what “was”.
Do we teach our children to worship by the way we worship? Is it possible that our children are tired of seeing such “stiff” worship? Do we give them the freedom to worship as they feel led? Are we seeking to teach our children that it is ok to dance for Jesus, to praise God from their hearts, to sing, to raise their hands, and to let God be their guide in how they worship? As long as our children are given the opportunity to know God, worship will have the opportunity to grow inside of them and be expressed in ways that will draw them closer to Him, and lead the way in a new generation of worshipping - one that will break the barriers of denominations, liturgy, legalities, and most of all, comfort. They’ll be the ones showing us how to let go and draw closer to our Creator.
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