At L24 Collective, we don't believe in a "Holy Spirit Junior." In other words, our kids can know and respond to God just as we can. We never want to underestimate what God's Spirit can do in the heart of a child!
Now, having our kids alongside us in worship may mean sacrificing some of our own personal enjoyment, (because they may require some attention from us), but this in itself can be an act of worship to God. We are laying down our own will for the sake of what God wants—children raised to know and love Him!
You Are Their Worship Leader.
Parents, remember you are the primary influence in your child's life. Our littles will be looking up to us to see how important worship is or isn't. They're watching our every move and they'll learn how to relate to God through watching the way we relate to Him.
For example, I'll never forget the day I saw my 4-year-old raise her hands for the first time. When did it happen? It happened while I was raising my own hands and just happened to look down at her. Where was she looking? Up at me.
What Are We Teaching Them?
As my child's worship leader, I want them to know 3 simple things about worship:
1. God is our audience. - Worship means offering ourselves to God as a "living sacrifice." (Romans 12:1) Worship is all about God, not us! Explain to your kids that the band is only there to help everyone sing loud and confidently. It is different from a concert where the performance is the center of attention. This is about the whole room participating in the unashamed honoring of God our Savior and King.
2. God smiles when we worship Him. - God isn't in a bad mood! He isn't watching skeptically, waiting for us to worship incorrectly. No! "The Lord takes delight in his people." (Psalm 149) So let our children go! Let them sing loud. Let them dance and express themselves. As long as we remember that "God is our audience" and it's not about doing things that make us the center of attention, go for it!
But for some kids, like my youngest, expression in a public setting doesn't come naturally. A great place to start is to engage our kids in the simplest parts of the songs. If there's a simple refrain in the song, lean down and help your child sing that part loud. If there's a long verse, help them sing "la-la-la" to the melody.
3. God wants us to bring who we REALLY are and to know who He REALLY is. - In John 4, we find the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman. He tells her that the most important thing God is looking for is people who worship Him in "spirit and in truth." This means we can humbly come before God with honesty. We don't need to be perfect to worship Him; we just need to be truthful. It also means that God wants us to know His true identity, not simply a God we've invented in our own imagination. When we worship Him with humility and honesty, our eyes are opened and God reveals to us what He's really like.
As we gather together in worship, let's remember Jesus' words, "Let the children come to me. Don't forbid them. This is the kingdom of heaven." Let's welcome them in our midst and encourage them to engage!
Lord our Master, your name is the most wonderful name in all the earth! It brings you praise in heaven above. You have taught children and babies to sing praises to you. -Psalm 8:1-2