Why Family Worship?
Have you ever seen that painting of Jesus where all the children are climbing to sit in His lap and surrounding Him at His feet? It is a beautiful picture of Christ and, in fact, it is probably my favorite way to think of Him – welcoming all children to be near Him. And yet, far too often in the life of the church we see less and less of our children being welcomed into worship with the greater family of God, the opposite of what we see Jesus doing in Mark 10:13-16:
“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”
We often separate our children from the rest of our church family, when in reality Jesus welcomed them in (even past His personal space.) And we totally get it – as parents, it can be difficult to focus in worship with kids climbing all over us or on the verge of making a scene. At Harris Creek we strive to create age appropriate ministries where kids can hear the gospel of God’s love in Jesus in language they can understand and in experiences that connect. But parents, as spiritual leaders of children, must also hear the challenge issued by Dr. Kara Powell in her book Sticky Faith: “In an effort to offer relevant and developmentally appropriate teaching and fellowship for children, we have segregated kids from the rest of the church. And that segregation is causing kids to shelve their faith.”
So we are combatting that this month at Harris Creek! Throughout the month of December, we are excited for the opportunity to welcome our kiddos into worship with us – family worship! In fact, Scripture calls us all to this:
Lord, you are great. You are really worthy of praise.
No one can completely understand how great you are.
PARENTS praise your works to their children.
They tell about your mighty acts.
They speak about your glorious majesty.
I will spend time thinking about your wonderful deeds.
They speak about the powerful and wonderful things you do.
I will talk about the great things you have done.
They celebrate your great goodness.
They sing for joy about your holy acts. (Psalm 145:4-7)
That’s you, parents! You are called to show your children how to worship! The challenge is to approach worship on Sundays from the perspective of a contributor rather than only a consumer. As contributors in family worship, parents play a pivotal role in shaping the faith of their children. As we sing, our kids watch, listen, and join us. As we pray, our kids can seek God with us. As we listen to God’s Words together, our kids become our partners in discipleship, and we have the privilege of guiding them into the faith that we share.
We hope that your family can join in the larger church body this Advent season by participating in family worship. Our prayer is for the blessing of God’s presence as you lead your family – kids included – into an ever-growing relationship with Jesus.