How to Lead Preschoolers in Worship

This article brought to you by Worship KidStyle.

When you think of worship, do your thoughts turn only to a church service? While corporate worship is important to spiritual and moral growth and helps people feel closer to God, it is not the only kind of worship.

Worship with a church family brings multiple blessings. Corporate worship can enrich lives and help worshipers develop wholesome attitudes about God. As people unite their voices in praise, prayer, studying the Bible, and giving money, a unity in the family is created. As people catch the true attitude of worship, it can lead to a renewed commitment to Christ. Every worship service is approached with high expectations. Expect to worship God with body, soul, and mind.

Ideas for individual worship

Preschoolers and worship

Corporate worship is not enough. People must take time out from busy schedules for individual worship.

Worship is different things to different people. Ultimately all worship takes place within oneself. Spontaneous moments of worship can happen many times during the day.

Worship requires a personal relationship with God. Preschool teachers need to examine their personal feelings about God and how they worship Him because the children they teach are learning from them.

Worship is more than an intellectual stimulation. True worship should minister to the whole person.

All teachers need quiet, worshipful moments. Plan to establish a quiet time each day to spend with God. Plan a few minutes every day instead of every other day. Schedule a time that meets your needs. Be persistent until you are consistent in your daily quiet time. Because worship requires total concentration, shut out distractions. Quiet moments of worship will keep God in the center of your life.

Make your quiet time a priority. These moments can be used to study the Bible, to praise God in song or words, to thank Him for your many blessings, and to ask for His guidance as you seek to be effective as a teacher of Bible truths to young children.

Worship and preschoolers

Preschoolers have difficulty understanding meanings of some specific acts of worship. But they can learn about worship on their level of understanding in an environment where they feel free to raise questions and express feelings. Preschoolers think on a concrete level and teachers can answer their questions with simple, honest answers.

The teacher and child will share many worshipful moments in an environment where a child can feel the awe and wonder of God. As a teacher uses Bible conversation or recalls a Bible story, sings a song about God and Jesus, or bows her head and says a simple prayer to God, both teacher and child will experience awesome moments of worship.

Spiritual foundations laid during the preschool years will influence a child's relationship with God throughout his life. Preschoolers need positive experiences to help them learn spiritual concepts about God. If a warm, trusting relationship has developed between preschoolers and their teachers, a solid foundation has been laid where children can develop positive spiritual concepts about God and worship.

All aspects of a child's growth and development affect his spiritual growth. The Bible helps us know how children should grow when it says "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people" (Luke 2:52). Truly this is the way teachers should help preschoolers grow and develop as whole persons.

Ideas for worship with preschoolers

Preschoolers learn spiritual concepts through a variety of experiences. Their concepts and understanding of God are formed during these early years. Many opportunities for worship should be provided throughout every session. Teachers need to observe children and be sensitive for moments when they can help them worship God.

Preschoolers need to learn about God and what He wants them to know when they are ready to learn. Important truths for children to know are that God made them and loves them and every person is special and important to God. As children hear these Bible truths from loving Christian teachers, their feelings of self-worth are enhanced.

The teacher can enrich the worship experience by saying simple thank-you prayers to God. As the teacher observes Josh completing a puzzle, she says: "Josh, you have completed the puzzle of Jesus and the children. That is a hard puzzle to work, and you did it all by yourself. You worked with your hands, and you used your eyes. Our Bible tells us that God made us. He gave us eyes to see and hands to use. Thank You, God, for Josh's hands and eyes."

Children initially understand God's love for them when it is demonstrated through a Christlike attitude and the behavior of the adult Christians around them. As Tara is busily painting at the easel, a teacher notices that Tara shared red paint with Donna. The teacher can create a moment of worship as he says: "Tara, you showed love to Donna when you shared the red paint with her. Here in our Bible it tells us that God loves us and He wants us to love one another. Tara, you did what God said to do. God loves you, and I thank God for you."

Conversations with children such as those above help children believe God does love them because they have felt love from their teachers. The world surrounds us with the marvelous and delicious things God has given us to enjoy. Teachers can help preschoolers discover and appreciate the beautiful world around them and relate it to God. They can realize God shows love by making people and things in the world.

As you teach, take advantage of the things God has made. Plan firsthand experiences whenever possible for children to taste, smell, touch, see, and hear the things God has made. Share the awe and wonder with a child as you show him an apple. You may want to say: "God made the juicy, red apple. Thank You, God, for a tongue to taste the good apple."

To create an atmosphere of worship, watch for opportunities to thank God many times during the session. Use words preschoolers can understand. Provide frequent opportunities for preschoolers to talk to God in their own words. Challenge yourself daily to do the best you are capable of doing. And remember, God works through preschool teachers to communicate the message of the Bible to young children.

Christine C. McCauley is an author and expert on the subject of preschool ministry. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

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