One of our Imagine goals is to embrace the biblical concept that the center of spiritual growth is not the church, but the home. On January 20, we had a great turnout at our first Parenting in the Pew class where we discussed what worship is and several ways to incorporate young children into worship. We began with defining worship for ourselves as adults and what the Bible has to say about worship. There are expectations in worship. We expect certain things from God and He expects certain things from us. God desires our worship. He commands it. His Word trains us in how to love Him and how to worship Him. Psalm 46:10 (NIV) says “be still and know that I am God,” while John 4:24 (KJV) says to “worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Our expectations in worship are encountering the Lord, meeting Jesus, hearing His voice, and knowing God.
Teaching your children to worship, or parenting in the pew, is entering the house of your heavenly Father and saying “Daddy, I would like You to meet my children.” Parenting in the pew is also an example of what it means to seek God, to love His Son, and to respond to the Holy Spirit in worship. Through experiencing worship with their parents and families, children learn 1) that prayer is important when they see their parents make it a priority, 2) to give generously when their parents do, 3) sing and participate by following example as instruction, and 4) when worship is an obvious joy to parents, children will expect to experience the same.
The purpose of parenting in the pew is to train a child to worship, not just to be quiet. One of the biggest challenges for parenting in the pew is training children to pay attention to what is happening around them, the worship of God, and making them a part of it.
Click on the link to view the handout that was passed out at the class that has some practical ways to ease the stress of Sunday mornings and include children in worship.