Incorporating worship into your children’s ministry is a meaningful practice. Worship is having awe and respect for God. It is the giving of our time, admiration, and focus to Jesus in thanksgiving for what He has done on the cross.
The question many of us wrestle with is how can a child worship if they don’t yet understand? Should we even have worship music in children’s ministry? It’s challenging for children who are just beginning to get to know Jesus to worship from their hearts. Kids may not worship from a meaningful place yet, but they can learn what worship is by watching others in the church.
In the same way that it takes time for God’s word to move from our eyes and ears to our hearts, it takes time for worship to move from our mouths to our hearts. Let’s explore 7 tips for incorporating worship into children’s ministry with this in mind:
1. Make Worship Their Own!
One way to introduce worship to children is by making every effort to allow worship to come from their hearts. Have the children write down, in their own words, things about God that they know to be true. This could be something they learned in class, from a Bible story, or a verse.
Examples could be,
- “God does what He says He will do!”
- “Jesus loves me so much that He died for me”
- “God never leaves me so I don’t need to be afraid”.
Gather the children’s writings and put them on a slide show with a worship song in the background. Play it for all of the children so they can read their own words as they hear worship music.
There are other ways to accomplish this same goal, such as writing songs as a small group, writing a poem of thanksgiving to God, and more.
2. Align Worship with Scripture
Being intentional about what worship songs you are playing that week can help children tie the songs they sing into what they have learned about God. Choose worship music videos with interactive hand motions as these can help children pay more attention to what they are singing. Take the time to discuss the song and what it means to help children see the significance of what they are singing.
3. Admiring God’s Creation
Opportunities to see God’s creation and admire what He has made may help children to have the awe that worship requires. Play a slideshow of beautiful nature scenes and talk about how God created it all. Take worship outside with an acoustic guitar at a children’s retreat by the ocean, alongside a lake, near a mountain, or in the woods. Teach about creation at an evening event where children can gaze up at the stars.
Sometimes experiencing how big and beautiful God’s creation is can give kids a little insight into how amazingly powerful and perfect God is! A God worth worshiping!
4. Real-Time Examples
Telling Bible stories is wonderful. Teaching how people like David and Daniel worshiped God even through hard times is a good way to show what worship is.
Children also learn from people’s past experiences. Sometimes kids have a hard time relating to historical people, and it can be beneficial to invite adults and teens from the church to come and speak about how God has worked in their own lives. Children may be able to relate more to “real-time” examples.
As you do this it will create opportunities for kids to see how God is faithful, how God helps us in our trials and difficulties, and why God is the one we worship. Knowing other church family members’ stories and witnessing how they serve and worship God will be a great testimony for children.
5. Exploring Ways to Worship
Demonstrating how we worship God in children’s ministry helps kids learn what worship means. Whatever we spend most of our time doing can often become what we worship. Teach kids to guard themselves against worshiping “idols” by learning to involve God in everything they do.
Plan a service project for the kids and teach them that, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col 3:23-24). Provide an opportunity to practice praying throughout the day by planning a fun all-day event in which a timer goes off every few hours and kids stop and pray.
These activities and more can give children real constructive practice that they can build on in their relationship with Christ.
6. Inviting Kids to Join and Lead Worship Music
God has given us all different gifts. Sometimes the best way to find out what they are is by trying various ways to serve.
Even at a young age, God gives us gifts. Give opportunities for children to get involved in worship music in your ministry. Invite kids to join a choir, ask children to volunteer to lead motions or dance, and provide instruments for students to try such as tambourines or bongo drums. If your church does musicals, invite children to join.
For kids who show a special interest, provide opportunities for them to lead the other children in worship by singing or playing an instrument.
7. Resting to Realign our Worship
The Sabbath was given to us as a commandment but also as a gift. God knew we needed rest and that if we busied ourselves too much, we would find ourselves lost and far from Him.
Do an exercise where children make a list of all of the activities they busy their lives with. Things such as sports, dance, school, pleasing other people, and more. Demonstrate how easy it is to get caught up in these activities and begin worshiping those things through a skit, video, or lesson. Talk about what rest is and how it gives us what we truly need - peace.
When we rest in Jesus, we put our trust in Him, and we can let go of anxiety and relax! Teach how rest brings us to a place where we can focus on Jesus and worship Him. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you.Trust in the Lord, for the Lord God is the eternal rock” (Isaiah 26:3).
Give Jesus Our Worship
When our thoughts are fixed on Jesus, we can give Him our worship. The concept of worship can be challenging for children to understand. Our sin often blinds us to the idea that we would want to worship anything else besides ourselves. Your children’s ministry is a wonderful place to begin introducing why worshiping God is important, what worship is, and how we can worship.
The Bible is clear about the fact that God is not impressed when we just go through the motions, but instead when worship comes from the heart. These 7 tips to incorporate worship into your ministry will hopefully help you to go a little deeper than the surface level. As you put these concepts into practice, you can help cultivate an attitude of true worship in children. One with the prospect of reaching their hearts!