Discipleship Truth: Jesus summed up all 613 Old Testament laws into two: love God and love people (Mark 12:30-31). But beware of the simplicity of Jesus’ words. To love God with ALL the heart, soul, mind, and strength does not mean “business as usual.” Loving God demands effort, passion, and action.
True Story: Children can gush with excitement over food, friends, games, or a favorite animal. I love to see kids turn this natural energy into genuine worship towards God—loving and adoring Him in spirit and in truth!
At our summer church missions conference, I quickly discovered that our preschoolers loved to sing. Mike, our “host” (styled after an Indiana Jones adventure guide) was larger than life. Gifted at helping kids focus, Mike encouraged the kids to show God love through worship. Even the Goodbye Alligator song drew their enthusiasm! Throughout the ten days, the indoor amphitheater became a place of fun, hand-motions, and beautiful worship songs. The children were strengthening their “worship muscle” each day. They practiced showing God love through adoration and praise.
When the preschoolers became tired, hungry, or missed mom and dad, they sometimes struggled. On day four, the children returned from an afternoon of recreation. Because they were exhausted, the tone in the room was subdued. Just before the closing puppet skit and worship time, Mike invited the children to stand and worship God. An upbeat song perked them up a little bit. Next he led “Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord”—which the children had been singing all week.
Standing in the back, ready to help parents with checkout as the day ended, I was worshiping with the children. Tears welled up as I looked around. Some preschoolers were raising their hands; others stood looking upward; still others sat crisscrossed with their hands folded, singing quietly to themselves. The quiet, droopy tone in the room was transformed to reverence and sweet adoration. The quiet singing of 50 four-year-olds and leaders saturated the atmosphere.
One mother walked in and gasped with joy; her son Bryce was in the front, fully engaged in worship without distraction (a miracle!). More parents trickled in and captured the sweet moment. The kids remained engaged, focusing on God, not on friends or parents entering. The parents, many with eyes glistening, waited in the back, letting the kids finish.
“Thank you,” one parent whispered. “If worshipping and adoring God is the main thing they get out of the week, this will have been worth it—hands down!”
Action Step: Most children today love peer approval more than they love God. They are more concerned about “fitting in” than they care about being set apart for God’s special purpose. To overcome this tendency, show your child how to enjoy God’s presence moment-by-moment throughout the day. Read your Bible together; sing worship songs; draw God’s creation; enjoy a family devotion time. Children learn by participating in activities that demonstrate the truth about God and reinforce who He is. Stay in step with His Spirit by loving God passionately, expressing adoration for Him, and delighting in unbroken communion with Him!
Portions of this article taken from the ABCs of Family Discipleship booklet, available here.