- One fun way to teach the different functions of worship is to “play worship” at home. The children love to set up the living room as a worship service and pretend to be Sunday morning worship with all the different parts. Explain from the Bible what we do and why.
1) Lord’s Supper: Acts 2:42, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 11:18-26
2) Singing: Eph 5:19. Col 3:16
3) Praying: Acts 2:42, 12:5
4) Preaching and Teaching: Mark 16:15, Acts 5:42, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
5) Giving: 1 Corinthians 16:1,2
- We practice a lot of singing at home, as I am sure you do. One Christmas we bought everyone their own hymnals and they were all very excited about this.
- While singing at worship, I will sometimes follow in the hymnals with my fingers even when they are not old enough to read so that they understand that we are following along. I will whisper in their ear the next verse that is coming up so that they can sing along, too.
- Daddy will often help the little boys “lead” the songs to the correct beat with their little hands.
- If the preacher has a power-point presentation, this is a great opportunity to whisper answers to questions to your little ones if they have any. Pictures will come up that the children will often have questions about.
- This brings up a point I would like to make. We have chosen to keep our family together during worship. If our children are sitting with other people, we are missing teaching opportunities. Not only that, if they are misbehaving, we cannot see it when they are not with us. This is something that every family will have to decide for themselves, but we have found that for us, we chose to not use the worship service as a time for socializing. We worship as a family and allow for fellowship immediately afterward.
- By the way, by this time, if you have been very consistent with your discipline, it has paid off by this age. Your child is attentive and not only sitting quietly, but attempting to listen and actively worship with you, and they are enjoying it, too!
- For the younger readers who are not quite ready for note taking on their own, one idea that has been helpful is a little note-taking exercise where I listen to the introduction of the lesson to get an idea of where the preacher is going. Then I write down about ten key words that I think the preacher will say often in his lesson. Usually words like “Christ” or “love” or “faith” are biggies. Then the child and I will tally every time we hear that word used. This is a great way to encourage attentiveness before the child is good at writing quickly.
- As they get a little older, always encourage note-taking. Teach your children how to take proper notes to include good outlining skills.
- Encourage them to keep good prayer journals, as well.
- Don’t forget to check what they wrote down and talk about things later as a family. You will have wonderful family discussions!
Just My Personal Thoughts On Teens
- Once again, each family must make this decision for themselves. We choose to keep our family together during worship and encourage socializing after worship. If you allow your children to sit with other teens, at least be sure to sit close enough and be brave enough to get up right in the middle of worship and embarrass yourself and your teen if they are not worshipping or passing notes in the middle of services. That is not what worshipping our God is about. If another child asks to sit with us, we never turn them away. I can still be responsible for my own child. The goal is not to be hurtful, but to be responsible for your child.
These ideas were not all our own. Through the years we learned them or read many of them somewhere, but we have tested them and found them to be helpful. Hopefully this will encourage you while worshipping with your children whether they are babies or older. As said earlier, there is no absolute right or wrong method, but the Word of God is clear that we are to train up our children and we should absolutely revere our time of worshipping our Lord. So take the time to find a method that will work for your family and get to work training!
By Laura Warnes
Laura Warnes and her husband Jon serve with the Bear Valley church of Christ where they have been members for the last five years. Jon serves as a deacon. Laura is a homeschooling mom to their seven children still at home, (two have flown the coup) and is also a proud grandma to two beautiful granddaughters.