Monday, March 8, 2010

Intentional Parenting - Part 6; Intentional Worship

Most of the time I love worship. Most of the time I love going to church and spending time with our church body and worshipping with the people there.

Most of the time.

But there are days when my selfish self would just love to stay home on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket, sipping tea and reading a book during that time. Sometimes it feels like such a hassle to get showered and dressed on a Sunday morning, especially one as cold and rainy as yesterday’s was.

(Sorry if this is an assault to your sense of right and wrong. I’m just trying to keep it real here.)

But on those days when Jane Austen is calling my name, trying to lure me away from the cold, hard pews of our church, I have to go back to what I really want to teach my kids about worship.

Worship is not about me.

There is not one thing about worship that is about me. Not one.

Worship is about the One who came to earth for me, who took the burden of my sin and died for me. And why would I want to trade worshipping Jesus for Jane?

B and I have intentionally emphasized the importance of worship as our kids have grown. That’s not to say we’re legalistic about worship—believe me, we are not. But we do have some ideas about worship that we’d really like our daughters to catch, and so we’ve tried hard to model these principles into their lives.

Why Worship?
1. God commands our worship. And if God has commanded it, it’s our parental responsibility to teach our children the importance of worship. You can find hundreds of verses in Scripture to back this up—God demands that we worship Him and Him alone.

2. It’s important to worship alongside other believers. We cannot isolate ourselves from the Body of Christ. So many places in Scripture, God points out that we need each other, and one of the best ways to connect with one another is in a worship setting.

3. Worship is a discipline for life. Like I said, sometimes it’s hard to get going on a Sunday, especially if you have young children. You may just want to throw in the towel and wait until they’re older to start in the habit of worship. But, as I wrote in an earlier post, discipline is also important in our lives, so why not start early by instilling the good habit of worship in your kids.

I know, I know, there are so many reasons to forgo the time of worship. I’ve heard them all.

“My kids are too young. They won’t sit still for that long.”

“My kids think worship is boring.”

I think worship is boring.”

Remember, worship isn’t about us. It’s about giving praise and honor and glory to the King of Kings. And my hope is that by instilling the discipline of worship into our kids’ lives they will continue this pattern when they are older.

How does this look in our family?
Over the years, B and I have had to intentionally think through this area of worship and make some decisions for our family. Here are a couple of thoughts we’ve had and how they impact our family.

First, Sunday School is not the same as corporate worship. Sure, worship may happen during Sunday School, but it is different, and we don’t want our kids to be confused about that. B and I have decided that Sunday School is important for our kids, but so is “big church” (I don’t know why, but that term just makes me laugh).

Which brings me to point number two. We have intentionally decided that our family will attend corporate worship together every week. Yes, our kids go to Sunday School, but they also attend the worship service. With us. In a pew. Together.

Here is where I may step on some toes, so please forgive me in advance, but I can’t think about the importance of worship without addressing it. Your kids can and should learn to sit through a one-hour worship service. From the time they were very young, our kids have sat through at least a portion of the worship service with us. Thankfully our church offers a Children’s Church for younger kids—they leave halfway through the service—but I love that they can at least sing a hymn and participate in a portion of the service with us.

Finally, worshipping together as a family breaks down barriers between us that shouldn’t be there in the first place. I’ll be honest. There may have been a Sunday or two when I’ve come to church a little . . . oh . . . mad at my husband. Or I may be frustrated at the way my girls have treated each other throughout the week. It’s there, in the pew with us, that frustration. Just sitting between us. But something happens as we focus on God. That frustration melts away, and I begin to see my husband, or my children, as the gifts that God has placed in my life. And by the end of the service I am ready to serve both God and my family with renewed strength.

This is a great and happy mystery to me.

Worship is THE big event of our week, and our kids need to understand that. As parents, we need to show them its importance by making worship together as a family a priority.


  1. Wonderful as usual, Shelly. May your tribe increase!

    As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "And what greater calamity can fall upon a nation than the loss of worship."

    Keep up the great work . . .

  2. I put a comment from a bulletin insert up in my face in my little "office" in the laundry room. It is addressing the idea of worship and answering a question from a kid that says 'why do we worship God?'

    Here is the answer and I love it:

    "Worship means praising and thanking God for who He is and for what He has done. God has given us everything good that we have. He loves us and wants the very best for us. Shouldn't we spend time with Him and tell Him how grateful we are? We play with our friends because we enjoy them. We worship God because we enjoy Him."

    I LOVE that. Didn't God create us for His pleasure and enjoyment? I think He fully intended it to go both ways. What a great God we have that loves us that much.

  3. You sometimes get mad at your husband?

  4. Thanks, Ellen! I appreciate that.

    Love that quote, Linda. Thanks for sharing!

    BB, not very much.

  5. Would you please come join our church? I love you!

  6. That's a weird spam message there!

    Anyway. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  7. Yes, strange spam.

    Love this post, Shelly, and the good reminders and truths it gives me. Thank you!

  8. Sorry about the spam, guys. It's been coming fast and furious lately. Might have to do something about that. :(

  9. amen and amen. My family has a bit of a unique status when it comes to worshiping together. My Husband is the worship leader at our church. But it is very important to me that during that worship time that my littles are there with me, and during that time I have frequent discussions on why worship is important. Now, because our whole family isn't completely together during worship as a body, we work hard to find other times during the week to gather together as a family to spend that very important time with the Lord together. For us, it's usually bed time devotions. And sometimes that includes worship too. ^_^