I was recently reading about revivals and how there’s been many that have reached adults but also reached children. The Lord has set a fiery passionate love for Himself within the hearts of immeasurable amounts of children. I want that for my kids. I want that for your kids. I want that for ALL kids…to know the Father’s love in extraordinary ways. I want there to be a generation of kids who love the Lord with their intelligence, who experience the Lord with their heart, and who willingly submit their will to the Lord because they humbly trust Him and follow His leading voice. What God has laid on my heart for this blog is directed mainly at the parents of all kids within Freedom. However, if you’re a regular attendee of our church, I’d encourage you to read on, in order to support and champion parents as they call forth the next generation of God’s children! I have a challenge towards the end of this note, don’t miss it!
In Parenting in the Pews, Robbie Castleman gives testimony to how she raised two boys who love the Lord and were brought up in the church. She holds many similar core beliefs as our church does including the belief that children belong within the body, not hidden in the back. They need to feel a sense of belonging and have a secure understanding that even as children, God has something to offer through them and to them. While raising her sons, after the age of four she would not let any toys, coloring book or books of any sort with her children throughout the ENITRE service, not just worship. Simply put, she called them distractions and even at the pre-school age she did not want her children to receive the message that it was suitable for them to be disengaged in the privilege of worship. Although, I think the methodology lies within the hands of each parent, knowing what their children can handle as far as attention span goes. I agree wholeheartedly that I don’t want only the children’s bodies to be in the same room as the adults but I want their hearts engaged worshiping the Lord in joy and excitement.
How do we make that happen? Can we make anyone’s heart engage with God’s heart? We can’t force anything but if we don’t teach well, if we don’t live our lives in example of what we desire, the outcomes will be so much harder to come by. We’re moving into a season of being proactive not reactive. We are pursuing God and gaining territory for His glory. What a better time to actively go deeper in teaching our kids to worship. I have a challenge…it is simple…you and your family can do it… Here it is:
Worship to ONE song with your kids this week. One. Not more. Not less.
It will take five minutes of your week; 5 minutes if you listen to a mainstream version, 30 minutes if you listen to Bethel. If you have preschoolers, cut the time down to three minutes by listening to a Chris Tomlin version. Tell your kids first that you are only worshiping for one song so they can prepare themselves for a short amount of time and engage easier. Now I’ve always found that if my kids have a solid understanding of whatever we are doing, it is so much easier for them to be present. So feed their brains a little bit before you start. Don’t worry, I’ve cooked up a little brain food to chew on first but if you have another meal cooking don’t let that go to waste!
Why do we sing when we worship? Why do we use instruments?
Do we sing and play instruments because we live in a concert culture? Is it because we want to showcase our church’s best musical talents? NO! NO! NO! So many grown adults have this type of mentality, yet it isn’t the reason at all. The reason is this:
Meaning: To make music, to sing praise
Read that word to your kids. Tell them what it means. Have them write it down. Make it beautiful. Make it bold. Say it loudly, softly, in the craziest voice you have. However you do it, remember that word. It means to make music with instruments or voice in praise to God. This word, in this form, appears 46 times throughout the Bible. Examples of this are:
Judges 5:3 - “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song.”
Psalms 9:11 - “Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.”
1 Chronicles 16:9 - “Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.”
It’s a command and let’s not take obedience lightly. Our ZAMAR does not depend on the quality of the sound coming out of your mouth. During your one song, endure the awkwardness of singing out loud in front of your kids. Forge the brave path of singing loudly, out of your heart, offering your own praise with your kids by your side. Make the rule be that they have to sing for that one song too. Before you bring your kids to do this, ask the Holy Spirit to invade your living room. Ask Him to soften your kids’ hearts to the idea of worship. Ask Him to give them the safety to actually respond to Him through this time. Trust the Lord that He will pursue your kids, and also, you!
May you be blessed in the Lord’s favor and love this week!
Christina Noe, Children's Pastor