Last week we asked Lesley Roby to share lessons that her and her husband, Daniel, have learned over the past 8 years of worshipping with their kids at church services and in the home. Below is her outline with vision, their story and some practical steps to train your children and lead your family into times of worship. Lesley and Daniel live in Lake Highlands with their children Noah, Banner, Abigail, and Chapel.
- We (the Robys) want our kids to love worship.
- It is like parents who want their kids to love reading (or anything else).
- They have to see you doing it, if you want them to "catch" a love for it.
- To catch the vision, not just the "how to", they have to see it modeled by you.
- We have always had our kids stay in worship with us for the past 8 years. Our experience with this is constantly changing.
- Sometimes it is easier/harder than others. Sometimes we are more engaged than others. Sometimes our kids need us more than others. Be flexible.
1) Prepare and talk with kids about worship before church. Don't wait until music is blaring & people are everywhere. Share vision and practicals with them before you get to church. Do that every week.
2) Give them boundaries that are clear:
- What space can they be in or not be in? (stairs, railings, stage, doors, etc.) Give them an area to stay in.
- What are appropriate behaviors? How can we worship God? (sing, dance, pray, listen, sit quietly, read bible, color, etc.)
- What things are not appropriate? Parents need to decide this. For example, We try to remind them that we don't want to distract others because that takes the focus off Jesus.
3) Pray for them and share scriptures, encouragements, and words with them. Take your kids with you to pray for others. They can hear from the Lord too. Give them opportunities to pray for others. Train up your children and lead them by example in this area.
4) If a kid come up to you to talk or play, acknowledge them and point them back to worship. You could also help them refocus by holding them, dancing with them, or praying for them.
5) Off days. Some days kids just have a really hard time. Accept that this is going to happen at some point and be prepared to respond with grace. You may want to take them to the back just so you can train them or give them what they need without distracting others.
- This is not just for the kids. We do it for us, as adults, too. We need them. They worship in ways that should remind us to be more free and approach our Father with a child's faith.
- Let go of your "ideal" expectations of what kids in worship should look like.
- Great moments will happen, but only if we are willing to train through and endure the frustrating or not as ideal times.