The Making of a Baylor Fan
Michael and I are avid Baylor sports fans and like to attend as many sporting events as we can each year. And really, when you sat through the games during the unspeakable years (early 2000’s), it’s nice to enjoy the wins that now come a little more frequently. When we were preparing for Titus to arrive, we talked often about how fun and exciting it would be to take our little guy to games with us. We would look longingly at toddlers cheering on the teams and dreamed with anticipation about the day we would be there too.
Fast forward to having an 18-month old, and I realize the idea of a toddler being enthralled with every second of the sport was a little lofty. But even though most of my time at the game is spent shoveling snacks into a little mouth or chasing him through the corridors, we still take Titus to as many games as we can. We want him to grow up loving Baylor sports too! We want him to learn the traditions – doing a Sic ‘Em before the kick off at football games, singing That Good Old Baylor Line with pride, holding a raised “paw” and SWOOSHing at each free throw attempt in basketball. We model these things with excitement now knowing that one day he will understand their significance as a Baylor fan.
In the same way that we teach Titus about the intricacies of being a Baylor fan, not too long from now we’ll begin to teach him about participating in corporate worship at church. While we want to believe he’ll sit nicely during the sermon and listen, and stand and sing his little heart out during the songs, the reality is we’ll spend a lot of time redirecting and keeping him occupied. But in those little moments between, we’ll be teaching him what it means to worship, why we pray with others, how to listen to the pastor, where to look up the scripture, and what it means to take communion along with many other things. We’ll model these things with excitement now praying, hoping, and knowing that one day he will understand their significance as a follower of Christ.
At Harris Creek we do provide meaningful worship experiences for kids each week in Navig8, and we have awesome leaders who are helping kids understand what it means to worship. At the same time, there is value in our children seeing their own parents worship alongside them. When our children see us worship, they begin to realize that worship is important to us. As a staff, we want to encourage families to take time to worship together at Harris Creek. It may not be something your family chooses to do together on a weekly basis, but we encourage you to carve out time throughout the year to stand and sing, sit and listen, and just worship together.
If this is something you’ve never done before, here are some helpful hints to help make your first time worshipping as a family a little more comfortable:
- Talk about Sunday morning worship all week long. Talk about things your child will see and hear. Talk about what you expect them to do. Talk about why we worship.
- Use key moments to teach your child. Use a transition between moments in the service to whisper to your child what is coming next, a key point that was made, or how a song made you feel. Encourage them to stand when everyone stands, sing when we are singing, and bow their heads when we pray. Encourage your child to be an active participant in worship. This is a teaching time for your child and helps keep them engaged in the service.
- Set your child up for success. Take your child to the restroom and get a drink of water before the service begins. It is good to sit closer to the front of the sanctuary so your child is more engaged and less easily distracted. It is also okay to bring a coloring book or quiet activity for your child to use during the sermon if they are young.
- Don’t worry. Your child may fidget or drop something, people may look, but ultimately you are teaching your child about worship and it is a learning process. Be patient, love them, and know you are impacting his or her life in a bigger way than you can see.
We believe that children learn the value of worship from their families, and we want to provide times for children to see their families worshipping together throughout the year. There are times during the year that we purposefully do not offer a separate worship experience for kids so that families can worship together. On those weeks, pick up a listening sheet on your way in to corporate worship. The listening sheet has key things for children to listen for during worship and the sermon as well as key talking points listed so your family can talk together about the worship service on the way home.
Whether you worship alongside your children every week or you are getting ready to try this out for the first time, know that we are praying for your worship experiences with your children to be a starting point for showing your child what it means to be a follower of Christ.