“We usually do sets of 3 songs, 2 fast and one slower. We'd like to have extended worship occasionally but how best can we handle that when some of the kids are not mature enough spiritually for more than a few minutes of worship?” submitted by Dorrie Champagne - Agawam, Massachusetts
Worship is an important part of the Christian life. It is a time of devoted focus toward God, expressing our love to Him. In order to develop a heart of worship in children who are new in the faith (or young in age), there are some practical steps you should take.
1) Understand each child’s journey into worship
As Children’s Leader, we need to take the children on that Sunday’s journey to the place of worship. Understand that every child is coming from different places into kids church. This includes the personal atmosphere that each child brings in with them. Some kids are coming out of Sunday School or small groups where they have heard a lesson, played games, done crafts, ate snacks. Other kids are coming from a home where there is major stress, may have witnessed an argument that morning, didn’t have breakfast, had too much breakfast, didn’t get enough sleep, don’t feel well, etc. Be sensitive to each child's journey, and do your best to help them along the way.
2) Teach regularly about worship.
Explain the reason for worship - "to show and express our love to God." As often as possible, teach on the meaning, the methods, and results of worship. Why do we raise our hands? Why do we close our eyes? Is there a "perfect" way to worship. We tell our kids "It is not so important HOW you worship, but it is important THAT you worship!"
3) Make sure you and your leaders actively demonstrate worship.
When you are actively engaged in worship, the kids see this, and it sends a strong message to them that worship is important. If you or your leaders are not actively engaged in worship, this sends the opposite message.
Kids will imitate what they see. Actively engaging in worship for kids often starts here, but it needs to move to the arena of inner purpose. Kids are great at reading the group acceptance of worship. Many kids lift their hands and go through the motions only because that is the accepted thing to do. Do not be blind to this social reason for worship. Let it begin here, but help them move to making it personal. It's not about imitation and duplication. It is about adoration.
MORE TO COME in pt. 2...