Worship: Teaching Kids Spiritual Disciplines

Dec16JeffreyIt’s not about place or style … and it’s definitely not about you.

Before I became a children’s pastor, I led worship for a dynamic church in North Atlanta. God called me into children’s ministry, and I integrated everything I knew about music into what I did with our kids. I turned a few heads. In the midst of the mild tension, we saw kids develop hearts for Jesus. Young and old kids were worshiping God!

In today’s culture, worship has once again become associated to “music at church.” As we see the progression of worship in scripture we see it attached to the tabernacle and then later, to the temple. Very often, we see that when someone worshiped, they fell down. We see Jesus change the game a little bit in the conversation with the woman at the well in the gospel of John, chapter 4. He simply points out that people will begin to worship God differently. We see this emphasized in Romans 12 when Paul equates the sacrifice or offering of self as the act of worship. Have we gone back to attaching worship to a place…a style…a certain sound?

In other words, the act of worshiping God should not be limited to style, tempo, location, volume, and so on. Do we force our own style or tastes on kids in the area of worship? I’m not talking about doctrine here. By all means, kid leaders must ensure that the lyrics are truthful and God-centered. I’m talking about the other things that we often equate with what is appropriate worship for children.

Are we allowing children to make worship a regular part of their lives by allowing them to worship Him in spirit and in truth? Are we teaching them that worship and the music associated with it should extend into their everyday lives? Are you using music that is similar in style to what they might listen to at home or with their parents? (Again, this is not about lyrics.) If you don’t make an effort to connect with kids on a cultural level, you may limit their ability to extend what happens at church into their everyday lives. We want them to be ambassadors for Jesus, not defenders of a culturally disconnected church.

Worship music always seems to “strike a chord” of controversy with kidmin leaders. Respond away. Remember that you are not preaching to the choir. There is a plethora of views on this topic. This is simply a forum for the discussion.

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Jeffrey Reed serves as the Director of Kids Ministry for LifeWay. He came to LifeWay with a wide variety of ministry experiences including worship leader, director of children’s ministry, and executive leadership in several growing congregations. Jeffrey’s posts will give your heart and brain a workout, just like the fitness Boot Camp he leads in the mornings for LifeWay employees. Jeffrey and his wife Katherine have 4 kids.

  • I agree with what you have said. My kids vary from child to child. I try to teach them that when they truly give their life to Christ they can worship with any music that honors and glorifies God. We try to let them hear a little bit of all styles of Christian music so that they can see what they like the best. They have favorites, of course, but we have come way past putting on a song and hearing “Oh man.. I don’t like this song” and they are learning to truly worship…

    • Thanks Diane. I’ve had to take the same journey, not only with the kids I lead at church, but with my own four children. I want them to love and worship God, so I’ve been surprised at how my kids have taken their own path. (They’ve even gone “old-school” on me with some of their choices!)