In worship, the believer reflects back to God His worth. Worship is a response to God, and that response is an essential aspect of being a follower of Christ. There is something fundamental about acknowledging greatness together with others; it seems to be a built-in part of what it means to be human. We will share with one another great news of positive events in our lives, a great song that lifts our spirits, and we will acknowledge the presence of a great person who has achieved much. Therefore, it is not surprising that God has built worshiping together into the Christian experience. In corporate worship, we acknowledge the greatness of God together with brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is the fundamental building block of a lifetime walk with the Lord and lasting community with other Christians.
It is for these reasons that parents must care about involving older grade school children and teens in inter-generational worship and not simply allow them to only experience Sunday school as if it was worship. Our older children and teens need to see adults at worship and at prayer. They need to watch adults give to the Lord and learn from the Word in order to have an example set for how this will be their life-long experience as a worshipper.
Our program design reflects these values. While it is obvious that younger children are not developmentally suited for our worship service, we encourage parents of older children to both send their children to the ten o’clock Sunday school hour and worship together with them at one of the other service opportunities. This means that we are encouraging parents of teens and older children to find and fellowship in a Sunday Bible study class during the ten o’clock service time.
Additionally, we see the importance of once in a while breaking this model and including even our younger grade school kids in the worship service rather than in “Kid’s Church” during the third service. This allows them to occasionally get familiar with what “Big Church” is like. During 2017 we will engage in a few “Bring Your Kids to Church” Sundays where grade school children will remain with their parents in the third service. Parents, I hope that you will take advantage of and enjoy these occasions.
Ultimately parents have the responsibility to model for children the kind of adult Christ followers we wish them to become. Involvement in inter-generational corporate worship rather than just peer related activities is an important part of what it means to be a “lifelong follower of Jesus” and that after all, is our mission.