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Children and Worship: an Opportunity, Not a Burden

Written by Greg Palys on

How often does your child see you worship?

When I say “worship,” I don’t simply mean singing worship songs. Worship is our full-body response to the worthiness of our great God (Rom. 12:1; Rev. 4:10). We worship when we sing, pray, and visibly enjoy his Word, his ways, and his world. But we also worship every time we choose to obey him rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin (Heb. 11:24-26). Every moment of every day, we show who or what we worship, and our children are along for the ride.

However, something special happens on Sundays. Have you considered the unique opportunities your child has to see you worship every time the body of Christ gathers? College Park Children’s Ministries is specifically built to facilitate these moments.

Worship Through Serving

Have you ever thought of serving as worship? When you serve the body of Christ, you show your child what you treasure most of all (Matt. 13:44-46). This is true because serving requires sacrifice. When your child sees you wake up earlier than needed (which requires going to bed earlier on Saturday) and stay longer than expected each Sunday, they learn that you value serving even more than extra free time.

Additionally, if you serve in your child’s classroom, there is an additional blessing. You serve your child all week, but your child can be tempted to take that for granted. It is harder to ignore Dad or Mom preparing lessons throughout the week, investing time each Sunday joyfully discipling other children, and making an effort to engage those children and their families when they see them after service (or at the grocery store).

Worship in the Service

Of course, our primary picture of worship is the worship service and with good reason. I only point out that all of life can be worship because we so often narrow its meaning. Yet there is a reason Christians have gathered every Sunday since the resurrection of Christ. We have special and distinct opportunities to worship God in the worship service. That’s why your child should be there along with you.

We believe in the value of Sunday School classes. But Sunday School is not the end goal. As each of our children grows, matures, and hopefully embraces the gospel, we desire that they become more and more integrated into the life of the church. This will require teaching them what normal church life looks like. Though many younger children will not always understand (or appreciate) everything happening in the worship service, with effort and over time, children can learn to sit through service and actively participate.

Consider all of the ways they benefit:

  • They see the gathered body of believers singing, praying, and sitting under God’s Word.
  • They see you singing, praying, and sitting under God’s Word.
  • They learn themselves to sing, pray, and sit under God’s Word.
  • They see the body of believers greeting, encouraging, praying for, and loving one another.
  • They witness the joy of baptisms.
  • They watch you take communion, perhaps prompting questions.

In other words, they see what it looks like to be a Christian and are invited to join in.

Consider Both

Your child needs to see you worship. They will do so all week, but they have an irreplaceable opportunity to see that each Sunday. When your child sees you (and others) serving, they see who you treasure. And when they see you (and others) in the worship service, they see you express it. Perhaps you will consider structuring your Sundays around doing both—serving and attending service. You will not regret it. You may even start to like it.

Greg Palys

Greg serves at College Park as the Assistant Pastor of Children’s Ministries. He is passionate about equipping families to instill the goodness and truth of God’s Word in the next generation. Greg received his MDiv from Faith Bible Seminary and his ThM from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a certified biblical counselor. Greg enjoys spending time with his wife Sarah and their children Ruth, Ezekiel, James, Eden, and Luke.

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