What Are We Teaching Our Children About Worship?
I know you’ve been there. The moment when your child is telling a group of adults about something you said last week, something that was meant to stay within the walls of your home. When you said it, you did not even know your child was listening to you. Your words were uttered in frustration and you assumed that nobody was truly listening. But those little ears were tuned in and absorbing your words.
As parents, we know that we need to be guarded in relation to what we share with our children. But what are we teaching them with the words on our lips when we come home from church on Sundays? Are we speaking words of praise and affirmation regarding the corporate worship in which we just participated? Or are we condemning the church for using a style of music that we regard as inappropriate? Each of us needs to search our hearts for the answers to these questions and allow God to show us how to truly worship in a corporate setting.
Psalm 19:14 says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart by pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Children need to see their parents worship God with no inhibitions. If my child observes me worshiping God while in a modern setting, but sees me using my phone to check email while in a traditional setting, he then begins to devalue traditional music through my actions. In every church service, there is reason to worship God. The style may be different from what you would choose, but that does not mean God is different. God is not concerned with the style of music you use in your service. God wants a heart full of praise and adoration, leading others to His throne.
If the meditation of my heart is based solely on musical style, then the words of my mouth will not be pleasing to God. Regardless of whether I’m singing the traditional hymn, “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,” or the modern hymn “Christ Alone, Cornerstone, weak made strong in the Savior’s love,” my heart needs to be worshiping God. I am praising God in both styles for being my Rock on which I build my faith. When these words are sung from a heart full of praise and adoration, God hears them the same.
Our children need to know that our hearts are focused on God, not our circumstances. As Americans we are easily swept away by entertainment outside of church, whether it’s the new movie being released or the anticipation of your favorite artist coming in concert. Slowly we begin to expect that same form of entertainment when we enter church on Sundays. We expect them to have the highest definition cameras, otherwise we are distracted. We expect our churches to have the highest quality sound systems, otherwise we become unfocused. Through all of this, our children are watching and observing. They are taking note that the adults in their lives aren’t satisfied with what they experience in corporate worship settings.
What would happen in our churches if we as church members took the focus off ourselves and put it on God? What if we came to church on Sunday anticipating worshiping God, no matter the form of music? A revolution would take place. There would be no more coming into the service after it has already started because you would be expecting to worship God. He is already there. He is already waiting for you to worship Him. But when we deem the music too loud or out of style, we are missing the blessed opportunity to worship God with fellow believers. This occasion that happens every week in corporate worship is something that is full of reverence and honor, but too often we miss the chance to pour out our praise with other believers because our preferences influence our worship.
We need to take the focus off of ourselves and put it back on God. We need to show our children that God is to be worshiped in every service we attend. Our children need to understand the value of worshiping God in one voice with other Christians. If we teach our children this truth, the church will become stronger. Unification will happen across generations, and boundaries will be destroyed. The goal of worship services should be worshiping God, not agreement on musical styles.
I encourage you to examine your heart. Are you showing your child, and other believers, that you only worship God when the music is right? Do you make snide comments about services with dissimilar forms of music? Or do you embrace every worship experience as a way to praise God?
God wants your heart, not your preferences. God wants you to lead others to His throne through worship. We have a responsibility to teach our children how to honor God and His church. Anticipate every opportunity to praise God in corporate worship. Let’s start a revolution by taking the emphasis off of our partiality in worship forms and adore God unreserved.