Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”Luke 18:15-16
Jesus loves to see children participate in worship. Jesus even says that the attitude of humble faith that children have make them even more naturally ready for worship of God. As we gather each Sunday, we are privileged to have a number of young children with us. These children come with with added distraction and added noise, but with even more added blessing. Here are five reasons it is a blessing to have children in the worship service with us.
1. Children belong in the corporate body
The clearest reason it is a blessing to have children in the worship service is that many of them are believers in Christ – and in a corporate worship service we want to picture the full unity and spectrum that God has blessed us with in our church. Age is not a disqualifying factor to be a part of the body of Christ.
2. Children are able to learn to worship
Even better than telling the children in our church that it is important to listen to the Word of God is showing them. When they see their church family and friends worshipping God by listening carefully to His Word and singing joyfully in response, children are taught by example what is important. If we as a church are to have long-term effectiveness in discipling the next generation, it will not be enough to simply tell them they must worship. We have to show them that we want to worship God – and so should they!
3. It empowers parents to teach their children the importance of worship
God has instituted the family and has given parents the primary stewardship of their children’s discipleship. Our efforts to disciple children as a church will be most effective when we equip parents to do so as the primary disciplers. When children join us for the corporate worship service, it gives parents a unique opportunity to personally teach their children to worship God. Parents, do not be discouraged – this is a good and vital work for you to be engaged with. If you are looking for resources on how to do this, I would recommend starting with this list of 14 parent-tested tips for helping teach your children in the worship service.
4. Children remind us of ourselves
Children don’t hide their thoughts and feelings very well. Sometimes that is what makes them the most distracting in a crowd, but we as adults are not that far different. All of us have minds that are prone to wander… most of us are just good at keeping it to ourselves. When you see a child who is distracted in a worship service, pray for their heart, and then pray for your own.
5. We can learn from children
If Jesus said, “to such belongs the Kingdom of God”, then it follows that there is a lot for us to learn from children.
- We must learn their humility. Children are not ones to challenge the Word of God; instead, they listen and have an inclination toward belief. Oh, that God would incline our hearts toward belief!
- We must learn their acceptance. Young children know no social barriers and do not choose favorites. Their humility in seeking the joy of those around them is a contagious example to us.
- Finally, we must learn their unbounded expression of joy. When a child is excited or overcome with joy about something, there is no hiding it or holding back. Far too often when adults are overcome with joy in the Lord we try to reign it in for fear of what others might think. But if a child finds something to be exciting, his unlimited expression of joy is a public invitation for everyone around him to find as much joy in the object of his excitement as he does. When children are captured by the worth of Christ and sing joyfully at the top of their lungs in praise and worship, they are a better witness of the worth of Jesus and the joy of salvation than many unmoved adults surrounding them. May we never look down on such excitement, but pray that God would work in our hearts to more fully express the joy of the Lord as we sing and worship together.