“…Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:4)
Psalm 78 recounts the events of Israel’s past so that the future generations will learn some of the lessons their parents and grandparents had learned the hard way. God has given parents the unique responsibility of teaching their children to love the Lord with all their heart (Deut. 6:5-7) and has given the church the responsibility to come alongside these parents.
We want to make sure our volunteers and children are worshiping with their families during this advent season. Therefore, over the next month, things may be a little more crowded as children join us for worship. Like many of us, they may struggle with sitting still or paying attention, but that is okay. I encourage you to look for opportunities to show the love of Jesus to our children and their parents.
Here are five ways you can love families with elementary age children this season:
1. Welcome and encourage them. Do not be like the disciples and turn children away, but instead follow Jesus’ example. In Mark 10:13-16, Jesus was angry with his disciples for trying to turn the children away. He tells his disciples, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”. Then Jesus welcomed them into his arms. We want our children to know that they are not only a part of Coats Baptist Church, but that they are also welcomed here. So as Jesus did, with arms open welcome them into our service.
2. Show them grace and patience. Children are still learning the rhythm of how a worship service works, and children’s ministry research has shown that the best way for them to learn the rhythm is participating in the service. Be patient with them as they make the adjustment. What an amazing opportunity to testify to God’s grace in your own life as you extended it to our children.
3. Pray for the next generation. As you see these little faces in our service, remember that they are the next generation here at Coats Baptist Church. Pray that they will come to understand God’s Word and that they will grow to love Him with all their heart, mind, and soul (Matthew 22:37). Ask God to show you practical ways you can serve in our Children’s Ministry.
4. Be a role model. No, they probably will not stay focused the entire sermon, but as their eyes wander around the room, remember that they are looking to you as a role model. As you worship, take notes, pray, and listen, they are learning how to participate in worship. What an easy and practical way to pour into the next generation.
5. Discuss the sermon. Children may not always listen when you want them to, but do not underestimate them. They are learning more than you think. Parents be intentional to lead them in discussions about what they learned from the sermon. Their worship guide has a section each week for you to discuss the sermon. If you get in the habit of holding them accountable, they will get in the habit of participating regularly in worship. They might not arrive at the same complex theological conclusions, but trust that the Holy Spirit can teach even the youngest of minds.