Kids’ Worship versus Kids’ Liturgy

Some years already we have seen how Pentecostals tried to pull people to their church by the entertainment they offered. Often we had more the impression it was about having fun instead of having a true sincere worship of God.

Paedo-baptist preacher Jonathan Aigner came to see ads for floor plans for Kids’ Worship, which he found most interesting. Every one of them he found on their page had a space marked “Kids’ Worship.” They always managed to work in the space for the “kids’ worship” somewhere.

He writes:

Now, I think it’s perfectly find and appropriate that churches build new buildings with dedicated space for children. When churches don’t plan to have children present, they probably ought not be building a new building. The other excesses – the coffee bars, the water walls, the lounge seating – are a different story. But the choice to advertise it as the “kids’ worship” area is saddening to me. {Kids Don’t Need “Kids’ Worship,” They Need Liturgy}

It worries him, though, for us, it brings up the question of how those churches want to use those special places for kids. In many of our churches, we also have different rooms for children, one for pre-tens and one for teenagers. In those places we provide Bible classes and prepare the children for certain church services, but not in a way we see how in Pentecostal churches the children prepare for a worship service, it being more a show instead of a church service.

Like Aigner writes, the church should worship together. And according to us prayer and meditation on the Word of God should receive preference.

They may have age-siloed Sunday School and Bible studies and other activities elsewhere in the building and at other times, but age-siloed worship is a new thing. If you’re blissfully and mercifully ignorant of this phenomenon, first of all, good, and second, let me fill you in. {Kids Don’t Need “Kids’ Worship,” They Need Liturgy}

In a previous article, he wrote:

Over the past few decades, in a largely futile attempt to re-engage the growing segment of non-church attenders, churches have shifted toward a model of separating parents and children on Sunday mornings. Usually, this model advertises a one-hour commitment, sending the adults to a worship service with contemporary music and a self-help, teaching-style sermon, and corralling the kids in Sunday School, where they sing hyperactive “kid-friendly” music to a recorded track, do hands-on activities, and listen to a quick lesson on their own learning level. After an hour of separation, everyone goes home and gets on with their lives. {Killing the Church with Sunday School}

Honestly, we think a lot of evangelical churches seem to have gone too far in trying to be popular and have forgotten the important connection of parents and children in a church community. They all have to be connected and feel they are together one unit of brothers and sisters.

Aigner writes:

Worship is a lifelong discipline that, ideally, is cultivated from the very beginning. {Kids Don’t Need “Kids’ Worship,” They Need Liturgy}

That is something many overlooks. It is from the cradle that children are going to be raised in a surrounding where there is a place for the Word of God or not. A follower of Christ must have a certain attitude and way of life which he gives forth to his children. By going regularly to meetings the parents should take their children with them and introduce them to others in the community.

It might well be that at such times we all come to Christ essentially as helpless infants. We do have to give the children opportunities to develop and learn more about God and His sent son. It is the task of the elder people to train the kids and give them a good fundament for their faith. Building up their faith in bible classes, they should come to a time of making themselves a choice for making a profession of faith

It is wrong to shoo the children away to the “kids’ worship” space. It is depriving them of their proper place in God’s family. They all should have the feeling they are part of the community, and they are regarded as equal members of the church community.

It is wrong to think the children have nothing to do with all those old hymns. They, too, should learn them and come to understand them.

About listening to such old songs, Aigner writes:

 

We need to expect kids to participate, to sit (reasonably) still for a little while (and love them graciously when they can’t), to stumble through the words and sing the notes as best as they are able. Even 17th-century hymns. Even communal prayers that have tough, refined, “grown up” language. Even when they are years away from anything close to a full understanding about what they are doing. {Kids Don’t Need “Kids’ Worship,” They Need Liturgy}>

Children should come to learn that not everything in life should pass like a show event. For everything, there is a place and a time. Children too should learn how to come to think about certain matters in life and about faith.

The fact that modern church architecture trends are building separate spaces to keep children is a bad sign, and it needs to be reversed. {Kids Don’t Need “Kids’ Worship,” They Need Liturgy}

Luckily by the Christadelphians, we do not find such trends, but we should be aware that they exist and that we should talk about them, because we should show others different ways of worshipping than the ‘modern trend’. We also should prove to them that children can grow up in faith in what they perhaps find an old-fashioned way of worship.

We surely should not underestimate children, and should also give them a sense of recognition of their knowledge and ability. That is why certain activities can safely be tailored to children’s needs, but to the extent that they are then integrated or shown later in the service, without it having to be a presentation of show tunes.

We do agree that our services, which can take up 2 to 3 hours would be too long for the young children, therefore only the first two or three parts are for all, and before the exhortation, after a part especially giving attention to the children, with them having to tell what they learned at the Bible class, they go to their own room. At the children part, they may feel there is a good reason for them to be there at the service. They find themselves valued and their aspirations met, and as such, they come to feel their connection with the older people of the community who have ears and eyes for them and their work.
Involving the children in the service makes them not only an integral part of it but makes that they would love to come back.

At Sunday School they also learn to discuss certain matters and learn that they also should dare to question things and should dare to offer possibilities and solutions. Giving the children the feeling that they are welcome to participate in the working of the church and in the process of decision-making, they shall appreciate their recognisance and appreciate it that they and their opinions are valued.

Instead of making decisions for them, churches should learn to make decisions with them or even honour their decisions. A positive step towards this is surely the decision to include all the children at the meeting even before they are baptised. Because how are they going to want to be baptised when they do not feel what extra such a baptism would deliver them?

It is good to see children actively being part of singing and in enactments. We must educate them in such way that they have no need to find a show in church, but shall appreciate the hymns and praying together with just words or in singing. The parents are the best people to give the best example. It is namely by example that children have to learn. Children can understand when and where a certain level of behaviour is expected in a venue. And the church is a venue for meditation and prayer, honouring God, it is not a showbiz temple and does not have to compete with professional actors, singers and dancers.

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Preceding

Teach children the Bible

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Additional reading

  1. In the nurture and admonition of the Lord
  2. Reasons why you may not miss the opportunity to go to a Small Church
  3. Teach children the Bible (Our World)
  4. The key to self-motivation is self-esteem
  5. Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #1 Intro
  6. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

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Related

  1. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them About God
  2. Let The Children Come ~ Pray for Them
  3. Let The Children Come ~ Be An Example
  4. Let The Children Come: Encourage them to pray
  5. All-Age Worship: a few thoughts
  6. A Child Friendly Church: An Imperative Not an Option
  7. Called to Care: The Distinctiveness of the Church at times like this
  8. Oh, Behave! Training Your Child to Behave in Church
  9. Easter word search for older children
  10. Suffer The Little Children
  11. When Little Voices Praise a Big God
  12. Kids worship
  13. Compass Kids Worship ROCKS! For December 12, 2021
  14. Under-40s and faith
  15. Where have our volunteers gone?
  16. In Hope… I led Worship from Home
  17. …..in a blink……it is day 2 or 17…..

Published by Christadelphians

Free Christadelphians or Brothers and sisters in Christ, living in Belgium, European Union. - Vrijë Christadelphians of Broeders en zusters in Christus wonende in België in de Europese Unie.

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