I have seen kids worship and it’s beautiful. I’ve seen in camps. I’ve seen it in children’s church. I’ve seen in it VBS. I’ve even seen it, occasionally, in adult worship services. If you watch a child worship you’ll see that it looks a lot like when adults worship. But, there is something different, the ENVIRONMENT that kids worship in.
Is this ok? Is it ok that then environment that typically leads a kid to a place of worship is different than that for adults or even teens? I say yes. Next time you’re in church look around at the people that are there. Are they all the same? Do they all have the same taste in music? Do they all worship God in the same way? Is it ok for the different adults in an adult service to worship differently? I’d say yes. In that case, I’d say it’s ok for kids to worship differently as well.
Can kids worship in an adult service? The answer to this is YES. But, I would argue that it is not as natural for them. A couple weeks ago my church did a musical based on the book of Revelation. It was a series of scripture readings followed by a song that talked about the passage that had just been read. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. It was such a great time of worship. The adults in attendance were blown away. In the midst of this amazing time of worship I saw kids all over the room that were completely checked out. How could the adults be so worshipful and the kids checked out?
Kids need to learn to worship in ANY environment. Many would make this argument, and I agree. The same should be true for teens and adults as well. Worship should not be about a specific place or style of music. Rather worship should be about connecting with God in a way that is meaningful. With this in mind, do we even need to set up special environments for children to worship in? While the eventual goal would be for kids to learn to worship in any environment, most of them simply aren’t there yet. Remember that many of these kids are unsaved, or at the very least young Christians. If they have never experienced worship, how can they learn to worship in other environments.
What does it look like when kids worship. As I have said above it often looks a lot like when adults worship. In a given adult service you will have some people that sing and some that don’t. Some people will close their eyes as they sing. Some people will raise their hands or even clap. We’re all different and so is our way of worshiping. The same is true with kids. But, I have found that many kids are more active in their worship. Kids like to do motions and even dance a little, but at the same time some don’t. I remember on child that was in children’s church with me. He spent almost every Sunday standing still, not singing and with his hands in his pockets. He wasn’t being rude, it’s just that singing and doing motions were not his way of worshipping. I also remember when this same child, who always seemed to be kinda unplugged, accepted Christ. I remember when I baptized him. He may not have worshipped like many of the other kids, but he was connecting with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit was working on him.
Teaching kids to worship anytime, anywhere starts with setting up environments that help kids to experience worship. It is only after they have experienced the wonder of authentic worship that they can begin to learn to take that worship to other environments. So, don’t be afraid to let kids worship their way, even if it doesn’t look like what your used to.Matt Norman
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