Katie on 04/09/12
"Will you as a congregation undertake the responsibility of assisting these parents in the Christian nurture of this child?"
This Sunday we will respond in the affirmative as we baptize more of our covenant children. What will it mean for us as a family at Christ Church to assist our children in Christian nurture? This year we have welcomed many new people (including children) into the life of our church. We celebrate communion and family worship each week, but we make a special point to highlight our children on the first Sunday of each month, inviting those ages kindergarten and older to stay with us in the worship service. This summer while the Garretts are away on Sabbatical, we will have the older kids with us in worship every Sunday. What could it look like for us to live out the gospel of grace together with our kids? It may be challenging at first. Parents will be learning what it means to model the art of listening, singing, participating and communing with God. Some of our kids will be bored or loud. A few will be quiet listeners, but many will seem restless or distracting. How then can we all be teachers of worship as each of us, young and old, seek to live our this passage from Deuteronomy 6?
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Here are a few ideas for parents and congregants…
Find a good place to sit. Sitting near the front will provide children with a better view but you may prefer to sit in the back to slip out quickly. It is totally up to you!
Help your child look up scripture and mark it so he or she can follow along when it is time. Bring your own Bible from home.
Whisper explanations of what is happening throughout the service if necessary (“We are going to pray now, so fold your hands like this and close your eyes.”)
Encourage your child to stand up and sit down when appropriate and to participate in the service along with the congregation.
When it is time to receive the offering be sure everyone in the family has something to put in the offering plate or basket. Pass the plate or basket to children, not past the children. When you get home, talk about why we put money in the basket (we fight against envy and greed by practicing giving and generosity; responding to our giving Savior) and where the money goes (to pay for our church and its ministries).
Let your child greet the pastors each week. Knowing the pastors personally will add incentive for the child to pay better attention during the service.
(From Westbury UMC)
Thanks, Sam Wheatley, (at New Song Church in Salt Lake City, Utah) for your reminders of how to model worship for our children.
Another great way to nurture our children is to sign up for a volunteer slot on our website: Thanks!