Why I Love {Family} Worship

I closed my eyes as the song wrapped around me. It was Sunday, the week before Christmas and I was at peace.

My hand tugged: My daughter happily gesturing at the holiday song being sung-the one she was learning to play on her flute.

Then I understood the unspoken completeness in my soul, my children were lined up in a row…

worshiping God with us.

Just as they had for the last 8 Sundays, notebook and Bible in hand.

I spent the first ten years of my marriage as a Children’s Pastor.

I loved it.

But once my children turn a certain age (it’s different for each one-our youngest is still in classes at 4), I find myself longing to experience worship along side them.

Eight Sundays ago, we made a family decision to attend worship services together.

A scripture was read and instantly I recognized it as a verse that we recently learned as a family. We added crazy hand motions to help us remember and with a side glance to my kids, I saw them doing the small gestures. It was all we could do not to laugh and burst into spontaneous made-up sign language!

But inside? I was marveling.

The glimpse into my children’s hearts as they listened and learned and loved: it was good. It was like unwrapping The Gift of Christmas together.

I know there is a need in their spirits to learn and grow with kids their own age. So, yes to that.

But I want my children to see my eyes brim with tears when God comes near.

I want them to learn to worship by example.

I want to experience God with them…

P.S. when the fidgeting starts-tic tacs help


Comments

  1. says

    Amen and amen! THAT is how kids learn… by watching YOU!

    I know kid’s church is important, but, is it not as important or even more important for children to SEE their father and their mother lift up holy hands unto the Lord? Kids know what goes on in families. If they know their parents are in some sort of struggle and then see them worship God through it, how powerful is that?

    Good job Mama!

    Janet

  2. says

    I’m really interested in this. Do you consider this the homeschooling of the children’s church world? You know I was a Children’s Pastor too and it is haaaard for me to imagine taking my kids out of a ministry that has been designed for them. Do you not think them seeing you serve (volunteering, etc.) is the same as them watching you actually “worship” in a service?

    I’m really asking. I’ve just read so many posts about this lately. I’d love to know more of the whys/hows!

    :)

    a

    • kristen says

      Great questions, Amanda. This is new territory for me, but my older kids are THRIVING. They are 8 and 10, so they are getting SO much out of it. I’m NOT against children’s ministry at all. We still do it for our youngest and plan to keep our oldest in weekday children’s classes…this is just refreshing for our family.

      I think if you are serving in your children’s ministry with your kids, THAT IS AN ACT OF WORSHIP. But I would recommend occasional family worship for every family.

      Hope that helps!

  3. says

    Thanks for the clarification, Kristen. My kids are still 2 and 4…so it’s a little different, I think. I SO get the consistent part of it–I think we’re called (commanded!) to be the model for our kids–in education/home-life/church/serving/etc and you’re right, if they don’t see you “worship”…well, when will they learn from you? Good points…stuff I’m going to have to mull over.

    a

  4. says

    Okay… we do this!!! Always have!!! And lots of folk ask us why our kids aren’t in Sunday school which runs at the same time – turns out it is more about why our kids are in church worshipping with us!!! It is just how it is meant to be!!! Not every week is perfect and some weeks you wonder why you are making the effort and other weeks you think WOW they totally get it… Just like us!!! Some weeks I can concentrate and other weeks I just can’t!!! Do yourself a big favor and read Parenting in the Pew, http://www.se7en.org.za/2008/08/24/sunday-snippet-parenting-in-the-pew-review… I found this book tremendously helpful. All the best!!!

  5. says

    We do this as well. I grew up with Sunday school at a different time t hen church.. so it is what feels right to me, I guess. We tried the other way…but my kids LOVE worshiping as a family, and I love the sneak peak into what they respond to! Good for you!

  6. says

    My boys are 3 and 4 and every Sunday evening they join me in the adult service. I think it is SO important that they are there! I grew up in churches that did not have programs and, even though many things were beyond me, the examples made a big impact in my life! I bring along a backpack full of quite toys, which they are allowed to dive into once our Pastor starts preaching and I have been so surprised at how well they have done!

  7. says

    Well, as members of a house church, there is no “children’s” program. Our children witness our lives of worship (or lack of worship) at all times. We don’t always have a formal time of worship. Most of the time, on a Sunday, we can be found at the local shelter serving lunch and hanging out with our friends or getting dinner ready for people we’ve invited into our home from the community for that week.

    When we do have formal times of worship, we read a passage from the Bible. (Not the children’s version…but we take time to explain it in their terms) Then, Daddy draws a (large 17″ x 30″) picture depicting the verses or the application of the verses. Mommy writes the verse on the picture. As the kids (ages 3 and 2) color in the picture, we discuss the verse a little more and sing praises. When the picture is finished, we hang it up in the most visible spot in our home (above our television). Then, we work on memorizing the key verse for the rest of the week.

    I have been *absolutely* shocked at how much our children are actually absorbing. When we started this venture, I wasn’t sure our kids were old enough to actually “get it.” Now, however, my 3-year-old quotes her verses without a second thought. She even uses one of them consistently for self-control. When she is feeling upset or ungrateful, she often starts quoting Psalm 136:1 to herself: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” The first time she did that, I nearly fainted.

    Our children were made to worship. I think that, anytime we make a conscious effort to model worship for them and include them in our worship, they will learn. :) Sometimes (and at some ages) that means making a conscious decision to send them to the children’s program and then supplement and reinforce their children’s lesson at home throughout the week. Sometimes it means bringing them into “Big Church” with us. I’m certain it’s the other six days of the week that make the biggest impact on them, though. We must make sure we are worshiping (in front of them *and* with them) Monday – Saturday, too.

  8. says

    All of these discussions about children worshiping with adults are fascinating to me, because I’ve never belonged to a church where children WEREN’T right in there with the adults. It’s a foreign concept. Our children’s classes are either held before the service during Sunday school or on Wednesday evenings.

  9. Lizzy says

    such a great post! This summer I was struck by the same desire to have my children (preschool & elementary age) with us each Sunday instead of Sunday school. When I shared my thoughts with a friend, she gave me a copy of Parenting in the Pew and it was helpful. My kids are definitely the squirmy somewhat loud at times ones, and I can’t say they are getting a ton out of it (another friend questioned that), BUT, I love that we are together, as a family, worshiping Him. It has blessed us so much!

  10. Valerie says

    Thanks so much for this post… I too was a Children’s Pastor and sometimes when I want my kids in with me I feel hypocritical … It’s just been 1 1/2 years since I quit …. My son, 3 loves to stay with me for worship and then go to his class for the Bible story and snack :) Who can deny a snack ;)

  11. Sharon B says

    I love that in our church the main worship meeting, Sacrament meeting, is for the whole family. It does make for a VERY noisy meeting some days, but I do love having my kids right there with me. They do have an opportunity to attend age appropriate classes after sacrament meeting, as so the adults, but I really do love the opportunity to worship together as a family. It’s a great experience…most of the time.

  12. says

    Our kids attend worship with us too and people think we are complete freaks. Why worship as a family when you can park your kid in Sunday school? We all attend worship and then we all go to Sunday school and it works for us. And it blesses us.

  13. says

    I think the significance of this post was almost lost on me… I was thinking, “oh that is so sweet!” And, “Great job mom.” But then I started tearing up… and am now sitting here crying.

    I know that you are already aware, but it just hit me how devastatingly important it is for me to get the Word into my kids RIGHT NOW. We pray, we talk about Jesus ALL THE TIME, we celebrate Christmas without gifts… and more as a birthday celebration… but my kids do not get Scripture lessons. No hand motions. No scheduled reading time.

    And this post reminded of why that is so important.

    The best and most important gift I can give me kids is knowledge in Christ… and honestly, I am tempted to go and wake them up just so I can read them some Word!

    (ok, I am not crazy, I will relish my next 47 minutes of quiet time)

    Thank you for reminding me what this season is all about. HIM. And reminding me what MY job is all about. Gotta get back on track!

    BE blessed!
    Amanda

  14. says

    This post, and the comments, has been so encouraging for me to read. My husband and I have kept our children in the service with us since they were born, only using nursery for when they couldn’t sit still any longer (or actually had to nurse!), and while we don’t think anything of it, I’m always amazed at the amount of people who seem to take actual offense at our choice. Not even because our children are disruptive, but because they seem to think we’re condemning children’s church. We’re not – we just prefer, as you said, to worship as a family. I remember as a kid, every Sunday on the 45 minute drive back from church, my parents would talk over the sermon with my sister and me, asking us what we understood and if we had any questions, and we would also listen to them talk it over between them. We learned so much more by all attending the same service than if we had separated, and it bound us more closely together as a family as well. My husband and I want that same thing for our family, and it is so, so good to know that we are not, in fact, the only ones making that choice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>