Thursday, November 19, 2009

Worship and Children

Last weekend I managed to get some 20 folks together for a time of worship and learning some new songs. It was one of those gatherings that made my heart glad; I felt so moved watching everyone together that I nearly cried. I'm such an emotional creature!

I was moved because I had wanted to host this gathering for some time but now the time is right and it felt good. I think Father God wants us to enjoy moments like this! (my not-so-new church know my heart now! If I had done this the moment I arrived 16 months ago I'd have been forcing something.

The gathering included the worship pastors (greatly overdue with child but they were still there!), lots of worship leaders from a variety of styles and preferences, at least two professional musicians, some of my wonderful students who have a heart to lead worship with the kids, a teenager and three children. Because everyone is part of a very large church, we took some time to introduce ourselves to each other and eat pizza and Tunnocks tea cakes. Always helpful!

There was a wonderful atmosphere as we shared some songs that are (a) great fun and (b) contain succinct biblical truth that set the worshipper free and herald the kingdom!

While we do use a lot of Matt Redman and Tim Hughes songs (SUCH good worship songs for kids; great theology, catchy tunes, opens up the way to spend time in the presence of God) we wanted to teach some songs written by friends like Darrin Clark in TACF and Nick or Chris Jackson of Powerpack.

My final thoughts about teaching children (or adults) about worship or new worship songs is that I've always found it necessary to teach into WHY we worship and in particular about the significance of worship in the new covenant. We need to move our kids on from "Jesus died for me" into "Jesus died for me and this means that I have access to approach the throne of grace. I can trust my life with him and want to spend time listening to him and talking with him".

Here's some excerpt from my take home and go over with parent leaflet on worship given to each child. I teach on this twice a year. I guess what you can't see here is that there are lots of pictures on the leaflet.

(Psalm 95:1-7 is typed out in different colours first)
There are different kinds of worship
The brown bits of the psalm show thanksgiving and praise. There’s lots of joy and happiness in this part of the psalm.

The orange bits of the psalm show awe and wonder – it’s like saying “wow, God, you are so powerful.” Sometimes thinking about all the things he has made help us to worship him with awe and wonder. Remember to have respect for God for everything he is and for everything he has done.

The blue bits show what it’s like to be very close to God because we love him so much. This is called intimacy. It’s like when you pull very close to your mum or dad. You feel safe and warm. You feel loved. We should be able to trust God like this and worship him because we love him so much.

I know Jesus died for my sins. Why is that important for me when I come to worship God?
In the Old Testament, although God’s special people (the Israelites) loved him, they couldn’t get close to him in worship. Only a specially chosen priest could do that. The priest entered a part of the temple called “The Holy of Holies”. There was a thick curtain across the entrance to this place.

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the temple in Jerusalem was torn in two from top to bottom. This had a special meaning. It meant that from that moment on, anyone who loves and serves the Lord Jesus can draw very close to God.
So when you think about worship, remember that you are a special child who is close to God because of Jesus. Listen to him!

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