Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Thoughts on Family Worship, part 1

I have on my desk right now some pencil sketches from three precious little girls in our congregation. They were handed to me after our worship services a couple weeks back when I preached a message from Matthew 12:38-50, entitled "Greater than Jonah."

These girls, ages 6-8, were in the worship service, sitting quietly and drawing, but also listening to the message quite well, as evidenced from their insightful drawings. They drew pictures of Jonah going to the Ninevites and the Ninevites repenting and being saved. There was even one goofy picture of me preaching.

These pictures are dear to me and reminder that its valuable and instructive for children to be worshipping with parents in worship. They aren't getting it all, but they're getting some of it.

More than what is being "taught" is what is being "caught" when we include children in worship. We are affirming the importance of multigenerational worship and affirming the role/place of children in our community of faith. Including children in worship isn't necessarily easy or convenient for harried parents, nor is it the trend in most churches. Adult worship is an acquired taste and most kids won't like or enjoy it at first. But what kids (and parents) want is not necessarily what they need.

We are committed to encouraging (not forcing) family worship here at Grace. In future posts, I'll lay the biblical foundation for family worship and let you know how we'll continue to affirm families worshipping together as we move toward 3 services this Fall.

In the meantime, share with me your thoughts on this matter and the challenges/obstacles you face in moving toward family worship. . . .


Kevin Heldt said...

That's a wonderful thing to hear from the leadership! Brianna and I have talked a lot about the "ideal" church experience and being together as a family is at the top of the list. We both grew up in churches where we sat with our families during the service and neither of us liked the thought of not being "able" to share those same experiences with Anna. I say "able" because it's also important to balance your own ideals with the practices and culture of your church, and we wouldn't feel comfortable "going against the grain" and having Anna's occasional, good-natured babbles potentially distract someone if "family worship" didn't have the sanction of the church. We'll be anxious to read these ensuing chapters on the topic in the blog, but in the meantime, count the Heldts on board! I'm sure we'll have Anna in church with us as soon as she is able to remain occupied sitting down for that long.

PS -- We've also appreciated some of the comments you've made from the pulpit, when a baby has made some noise, expressing how you love having children in the service.

PSS -- Can you scan and post those sketches? I'd love to see that goofy picture of you!

Becky said...

I finally found something worthwhile on blogexplosion to read - great blog!

bob eckman said...

I know it is a challange for parents to have their children with them in the service. For those of us whose children are grown and out of the family, I would like to encourage you to make an added effort to engage kids in some way when they are in the service. You might want to chat with them, smile at them, basically help them to feel welcomed and loved. Jesus welcomed children and we should too...