Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kids and Worship

This question pops up from time to time: what do you do with kids during the praise & worship part of the Sunday service?

When we answered that question at a small conference, we received a few surprised, "Really?"

At our church, the kids join the adult praise & worship.


Yes, really. It doesn't work for us to hold a separate kids praise & worship time for several concerns. The biggest one is that we only have one service, so we didn't think it fair for some our CM leaders to miss out on praise & worship. So joint praise & worship it is, but it's not without challenges: the kids aren't paying attention, they're being disruptive, they're running around the building, the parents aren't watching their kids... We've even had parents tell their kids to go and sit with CM leaders (and this was after we told the kids to sit with their parents).

For a second, we felt a little trapped. We can't hold a separate praise & worship for our kids without burning out our CM leaders, but the kids aren't benefiting from the adult praise & worship.

Then we saw the blessing. Amidst the challenges, kids are learning to praise and to worship God. And adults are learning as well. We have tambourine dancers at our church. A preschooler loved how they danced for God. Her mom bought her her own tambourine. This preschooler dances with her tambourine, right there in the pew next to her mom, during praise & worship. Second graders singing along to the music with their eyes closed. Kids of different ages learning to raise their hands in worship without shame or self-consciousness. Parents realizing that they can be examples for their children, to show them how special praise & worship time is. And we found that our preteen graduates have an easier transition time from CM to youth group, from Sunday School to Sunday sermon.

And we're realizing too. For our church, it works to have kids join adult praise & worhsip because it's NOT "adult" praise & worship. It's just praise & worhsip. It doesn't matter if kids are in their own separate praise & worship, or if they're mixed alongside youth and adults, or if they're in their rooms listening to a cd. As long as their hearts are genuine, God will move.

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