I recently heard a minister say something wonderful about worship. “Worship,” he said “is not an event for us. It’s a way of life.” I love that. In some churches, worship services rival the time, money and effort but into Broadway shows. Worship teams and choirs hold auditions. In some instances, the focus has seemed to shift from God to the performers. An average person feels afraid to sing or participate in any way for fear of being judged inadequate to worship God.
How sad. I think about the shepherd boy David sitting in a field with his sheep. Hannah weeping near Eli. Ruth picking up leftover grain in a field. Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms in a stable. Worship was never an event for them. It wasn’t about going once a week and performing for God. It was the way they lived their lives every day.
This is what we need to teach our children. Everything they do should be in worship to God. Using their talents to serve and share their faith. Singing praise songs in their less than tuneful voice. Praying prayers of praise as they sit looking out at God’s creation. Everything they do should worship God.
Once your children have embraced worship as a way of life, worship service itself will change for them too. No longer will it matter if the service entertains them. Their focus is on worshipping God, not being entertained at an event. They won’t want to miss an opportunity to join others in lifting their voices in praise and worship to God. iPhones will stay off as they soak in what the God they worship every day has to say to them.
Yes, there will be a lot of practical little things you will want to do to develop these attitudes in your children. As usual, the first thing you will want to do is to set a great example for them. Find a church that worships more than it performs. Surround your children with praise songs, prayer and scripture every day. Be joyful in your personal daily worship of God. Sing praises even if you can’t carry a tune and be perfectly comfortable with it – God is. Teaching your kids to view worship as their lifestyle will allow them to worship God in many ways every day. This can only improve their relationship with God.