Our first interview was 5 months after Saddleback started canceling youth worship once a month to have families worship together, appropriately called: Worship Together Weekend. As expected, everyone was excited about the change…at first….
In this second interview with Josh, we talk about the importance of kids in worship, what Saddleback has learned and how they have adjusted since starting Worship Together Weekends.
PS. My wife corrected me. Our boys were 3 and 5 years old…Not 5 and 7… 🙂 How time flies.
Youth Pastor at Saddleback, Josh Griffin, discusses why they decided to cancel student worship services on Sundays once a month to bring students into worship with their parents and the rest of the church. Great insight for all of us as we think about including students and children in worship. (See more under the topic: “Why Kids in Worship”)
Questions for you or your small group:
When will children/teens see baptisms? Experience communion? When will they see parents worship, sing, pray, and be taught God’s Word?
What does your church do to include children/teens in worship?
At what age do you think children should be brought into worship?
Bringing your kids into church; an act of worship or an inconvenience? How do you “train” your kids to sit in worship?
Welcome to another Homes Devoted minute…Hi. I’m Jonathan Cronkhite. We are discussing the reasons our kids should attend worship services with their parents.
How do we want our children to view church worship? Church worship should be about giving God our best, giving Him the glory, setting aside time to worship together and encourage each other, and it’s about growing closer and connecting to God through prayer and learning His Word.
Unfortunately, when our children ONLY go to the children’s program or youth Sunday School, they grow up thinking that coloring, crafts and hanging out with friends is what happens at church. In short: church is fun. If I can be honest: It’s a lot more entertaining than reverent. But what happens when it’s not fun anymore? Even on Sunday mornings, lots of parents are too concerned about trying to meet their children’s needs [keep them entertained] and therefore feel guilty for bringing them into church, because it’s too boring.
Then they grow up and become teenagers (or we wait until they are in college) and we expect them to go to a worship service; to sit still, listen, to be reverent, respectful, hear the word of God taught and possibly take notes! Then the battle begins! I constantly hear parents complain, “My kids don’t want to go to worship.” It’s because we have trained our kids to grow up thinking that church is all about them. Which means we have not instilled a reverence for God; we have just brought the world’s attitude into the church that “it has to meet my needs or I’m out.”
Our job as parents isn’t to be their entertainment directors. It’s to raise children who love and serve and respect and honor God. We have to train our kids that sometimes learning about God and worshiping Him is not all fun and games; it’s not all about us. Where in the Bible does it say that following God is full of fun times? Actually, it says we will face trials of many kinds.
Maybe if we trained our kids to sacrifice for God, trained them to lay down their lives for Him, they might experience a God that does come through for them.
Let’s impress our faith at home so our kids see how awesome God is and lets help our kids see how God is at work and how He answers prayers, how He protects and how He provides, so that when we come to worship they are also compelled to worship! God deserves our reverence, our service, our worship. He deserves an hour of our week where we surround ourselves with singing and reading the word and applying His Word to our lives.
Here are a few questions:
Why do you go to church?
Do you complain about church when it doesn’t meet your needs? (If parents discuss the entertainment value of the message and music, this contributes to the child’s thinking worship is to entertain them.)
When do you want your kids to start learning the real reason we go to church?
Welcome to the Family ministry moment. I’m Jonathan and we are discussing the reasons kids should attend worship services with their parents…
How many times have you said: “eat your veggies or you don’t get dessert.” “Clean your room or you are not going out.” If you are not in by curfew, you’re grounded for the week!” Our kids know these things are important to us, they know we value them, because if they don’t comply, they know there are consequences. If we force them to brush their teeth, eat their vegetables, clean their room, but make going to church optional, what are we communicating to them? DO you put more emphasis on chores and doing homework than going to worship and reading the Bible?
Many parents don’t want to force their kids to go to church or read the bible and the reasons seem legitimate; they want it to be their decision. They don’t want to force God on them in fear that their kids will rebel and never want to go to church again. But, when we make going to church optional, we are communicating to them that it really isn’t important. We are in essence, saying, “If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to. It is important to me, but it’s not that important if you don’t go. But if you don’t clean that room of yours, you will have serious consequences, young lady.”
Going to worship and reading Gods Word should be the most important things we do together as a family. And just like there are consequences for not cleaning their room, our kids should have consequences if they have a bad attitude about going to church. In Joshua 24.15, he says, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua didn’t go and ask everyone. He knew he had to lead his family. And today, parents have a God given responsibility to lead their family, to model what a follower of Christ does. I hope you communicate to your kids that attending worship is way more important than cleaning their room, brushing their teeth or being in by curfew…
I know what you’re thinking: MY kids give me such a hard time about going to church. If you are one of those parents, we will be discussing how to make church more relevant to your kids, so come back to hear more. Leave a question or comment and I promise to answer every one as we strive to have homes devoted!
Welcome to the Family ministry minute. I’m Jonathan Cronkhite and we are talking about the reasons kids should attend worship services with their parents…
Let them catch you! Let them catch you worshipping…. We all know that our kids catch more of what we DO than what we say. Someone said that our faith is caught more than it is taught. So, let them catch us worshiping. We have a great opportunity and privilege to show our kids how important worship is! Where else do they see dad closing his eyes and singing to God? Where else does mom and dad get taught from God’s word? (it has to be good for our kids to see mom and dad “get instruction”, since they never see that happen anywhere else.)
It shows them we are serious about God; that we really do desire to follow Him. It shows our kids that we can humble ourselves before our Holy God. It shows them that we are in need of forgiveness, that we are not perfect.
Until our kids decide to follow God on their own, I want them to follow me and my example. I want to be like Paul, so I can say to my kids (my disciples), “live as I have before you, follow my example.”
Besides, my kids love snuggling with me during worship and I enjoy it too! It isn’t always easy with little kids. In the beginning, it was difficult to get them to sit still during the sermon, but just like training them in other areas, we had to train them, discipline them and give them consequences for misbehavior. Just a couple weeks ago, I had to take our 8 year old out in the middle of the sermon to remind him why we were there and what I expected of him. Honestly, now the biggest issue we have is that they fight over who gets to sit next to daddy!
So, next Sunday, bring your kids with you to worship. It may be uncomfortable for them and for you, they may fight back, but it is so worth it.
I hope you come back for more encouragement and inspiration.
Thanks for listening. Post a comment or question and I promise to answer!