the shape of leadership

Three Keys to Leading Kids in Worship

Help the children in your church develop a heart for seeking God

Brian Dollar on October 23, 2018

Worship is an important part of the Christian life. It is a time of devoted focus toward God, when we express our love to Him. And genuine expressions of worship can begin at an early age. Psalm 8:2 says, “You have taught the little children to praise you perfectly. May their example shame and silence your enemies!”

There are three practical steps children’s leaders can take to develop a heart of worship in kids.

1. Understand that each child’s journey into worship is different. Children are coming into the worship service from different places, and each one brings in a unique personal atmosphere.

Some kids may have attended Sunday School or small groups where they heard a lesson, played games, participated in crafts, and consumed snacks. Others may have just arrived from a home where there is major stress. Perhaps they witnessed a family argument, skipped breakfast, ate too much breakfast, didn’t get enough sleep or don’t feel well. Be sensitive to each child’s journey, and do your best to help them along the way as they learn to encounter God.

Be sensitive to each child’s journey, and do your best to help them along the way as they learn to encounter God.

2. Teach regularly about worship. Explain that the reason for worship is to show and express our love to God. As often as possible, teach on the meaning, methods and results of worship. Discuss questions such as these:

  • Why do we raise our hands?
  • Why do we close our eyes?
  • Is there a perfect way to worship?

We tell our kids, “It is not so important how you worship, but it is important that you worship.”

3. Actively demonstrate worship. When you and your leadership team enthusiastically engage in worship, the kids see this, and it sends a strong message to them that worship is important. If the leaders don’t participate, it sends the opposite message.

Children will imitate what they see. For boys and girls, worship often begins with imitation, but it should ultimately move to the arena of inner purpose. Kids are great at reading the group acceptance of worship.

Many children lift their hands and go through the motions only because that is the accepted thing to do. Remain aware of this social reason for worship. Let it begin here, but help children move toward making it personal.

Over time, you can help boys and girls understand that worship is not about imitation and duplication. It is about adoration.

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