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Teach Your Children to Worship

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2002 31 Mar
Teach Your Children to Worship
It's a familiar sight - children snacking, coloring, or playing with toys during a worship service. The distractions can help keep them quiet so their parents can concentrate on the service. Maybe the children aren't even present in the sanctuary during worship. They could be back in Sunday School classrooms for the entire time their parents are worshipping God.

But doesn't God want children to worship Him, too? Children shouldn't miss out on the most important experience in church - directly encountering God in worship. As a parent, you can teach your children how to approach God in worship, giving them a gift that will prove far more valuable than simply learning how to be quiet.

Here are some ways you can help your children learn to worship:

  • Pray for God to deepen your sense of His presence as you worship Him, so that worship becomes a truly exciting experience for you, and your children can sense that when they see you worship.

  • Make worship a priority in your life so you can show your children how important it is to you. Take the time to prepare your heart for worship, and keep the Sabbath day holy by stopping your work and making church the highlight of your day. Don’t overbook your schedule so your Sabbath day won’t be hectic.

  • Have your children sit with you during a worship service – not with their friends. Sing songs together, pray together, and listen to the sermon together, etc. Afterward, discuss your shared worship experience. Encourage your children to ask questions, and take time to answer them, explaining the meaning of the various parts of the service.

  • Encourage your children to participate as much as possible during worship. Don’t allow them to bring food, gum, toys, or other things to distract themselves during the service. Consider whether they might even be able to fulfill a volunteer role during the service, such as by reading Scripture aloud to the congregation.

  • Remind your children that God cares deeply about them and is very interested in all that goes on in their lives. Discuss ways He has answered their prayers, and ways that a particular sermon’s points relate to their lives today.

  • Encourage your children to give their own offering from their own money, and talk with them about how their contributions will help others.

  • Pray with your children frequently outside of formal worship services, so they can develop the confidence to pray in their own words and from their own hearts during services rather than simply repeating a prayer someone else has written. Encourage your children to be open and honest with God in prayer, revealing their deepest thoughts and feelings.

  • Teach your children about the meaning behind sacraments such as baptism and communion, and have them wait to participate in these sacred acts until they have attained the spiritual maturity to do so.

Adapted from Parentng in the Pew: Guiding Your Children Into the Joy of Worship, copyrights 2002 and 1993 by Robbie Castleman. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill.,, 1-800-843-4587.

Robbie Castleman, a mother of two sons, is assistant professor of biblical studies at John Brown University and the national director for the Religious and Theological Studies Fellowship with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Do your children usually stay in the worship service with you at church, or do they most often go back to Sunday School class? Why or why not? How have you tried to help your children learn to worship, and why is it important to you to teach them to do so? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.