Pastor’s Blog: Worship for All Ages

Pastor’s Blog: Worship for All Ages

By Caroline Tucker

(This blog is the third in our worship series; Click Here to Read the first blog, and Click Here to Read the second blog)

One of my favorite parts of my job is sitting with the children during worship. In just the short amount of time that I have been at First Baptist, I have witnessed so many holy and sacred moments when worshipping with the children. I have been so inspired by the awe and wonder that they bring to the worship space.

Sometimes, a child will lean over to me during the scripture reading and whisper, “we learned this today in Sunday School!”

Often, the children who cannot read yet will hum the tune to the hymn and mirror Pastor David’s conducting. Their eagerness to participate is so refreshing! Even though they cannot read the words, they are able to find their own ways to participate with the congregation in worship.

Recently, the children have even participated in church practices such as communion. On World Communion Sunday, we invited parents to allow their children to participate in the sacred ritual and practice of communion taken among a community of believers in Jesus Christ. The children may not fully understand the theology of why we take communion, but I could tell that they each felt welcomed in the body of Christ that is the church. That is truly what communion is all about!

These are just a couple of examples of how I have seen the Spirit move among the children in worship the past three months!

I have also noticed when something exciting happens in the service, the children will look around the room, trying to find someone else to share this exciting moment with. However, most often there is no one sitting behind them, so they turn back to their seat.

The children love their church family and want to be a part of the whole community. Intentional and special programming for children is necessary, because in order for the children to learn about God, they need age-appropriate lessons and activities. However, children also need to learn about the importance of worship, and the best way to teach this is for the children to experience worship with the rest of the congregation. An hour is a long time for children to be still and quiet in the worship service; however, this time is invaluable for the child’s faith development and for the life of the congregation.

Worship is all about gathering together with other believers in Jesus Christ, to hear the word of God and to discern together how God is moving in our lives. Community is central to worship, and the children are a part of our community. That means that we must embrace their questions, their squirming and wiggles when they have been sitting too long, and the occasional revelation that they share proudly (and loudly) with the congregation. Including children in the worship space also fully embodies how Jesus welcomed children during his ministry when he said “Let the children come to me” (Luke 18:16).  Children are not just the future of our congregation, but are present in our worshiping community now.

How can we welcome children into worship? How can we help them feel a part of our worshipping community? It can be as simple as moving close to and sitting with the children in the worship service. It may look like sitting close enough to the children so that when a child looks around to share their excitement about worship, you can share that excitement with them also. It could also look like sitting next to the children so that you too can hear the holy and sacred revelations that the children make during worship about God. Whatever this looks like for you, I invite you to sit close enough to the children so that they may feel a part of, and not separated from, our worshiping community.

May we strive to be as eager as the children to gather together to worship God!

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