by Liz Alexander, Minister to Preschool & Children
I often get asked, “Does my child need to go to the worship service?” My answer? If your child is in the 1st or 2nd grade, yes, he or she needs to start going to worship! God created us to worship Him no matter our age, and children play a vital role in the body of Christ. They are future believers that will continue to share the message of Christ, and we need to guide them through it. Here are five ways that you can help your child in a worship service:
1.) Explain to your child what worship is.
Worship should be a lifestyle for us, but throughout the Bible we also see God's people coming together to worship Him. Worship includes singing praises to God, praying, and hearing from God's Word. We must talk with our children so that they know what to expect, and explain what we do during each part of a worship service. Let them ask questions! If they know what, then they will know how to join in.
2.) Be the example in worship.
Children learn by observing and then doing the same thing. Much of a worship service includes physical actions, so we need to model it consistently. Children are always watching, so how you act is how they will learn to worship. Be the example!
3.) Be prepared for worship.
On the way to church, discuss again what worship will be like. In the car, you have them captive in a seat for several minutes, so this is a great time to talk and answer questions! Pray with them that God will prepare their hearts for worship.
4.) Use a children's worship guide.
At Hernando Baptist, we provide worship guides for your children to use during the sermon time of the worship service. Even if all they do is draw a picture of what they hear, it's a start and you can build on it! You can also make a worship notebook to bring every Sunday in which your children can take notes. Then sometime during the week, take it back out and talk about what they have written and drawn. Everything should point back to Jesus.
5.) Remember they are kids!
A good rule of thumb: your child's attention span is about the same number of minutes as his or her age. (So your 6-year-old has an attention span of about 6 minutes). Be prepared for a little reminding every now and then throughout the worship service. Consider creating a sign or hand signal that will remind them that "we are here to worship and focus on God."
Worship is a great time for families to come together and for children to grow! God created us to worship Him and we must teach our children how to do just that. Remember: keep them in the know, and they will grow!
Can you think of any other tips for helping children in a worship service? What have you tried that has worked for you? Let us know in the comments!