Tina Houser explores the benefits of allowing children to lead adults in worship.
Every once in a while, a child hits us with a profound thought that comes out of their innocent point of view. It causes us to rethink our preconceived notions, brings us back to reality, or merely simplifies our outlook. Then, we lovingly and a bit sarcastically quote, “And a little child shall lead them.” It’s true that kids can point out the obvious and teach us a thing or two, but what if we intentionally taught them to lead? What if we encouraged them to lead? And, are you ready for this? What if we encouraged them to lead adults?
Small and medium-size churches, sit up and take notice of what I’m going to say here, because you’ve got an advantage over megachurches. Because of the intimacy and the small community atmosphere of your congregation, you have an incredible opportunity to make something wonderful happen, not just with the children in your care, but also with the entire church. You’re at the advantage because of your size! As part of your program, children can learn about leading worship, and I’m not talking about leading other children. Children, when given direction and supervision, can be a remarkable addition to the leadership of the corporate worship service. In megachurches, there are so many talented and capable adults who can lead, but it’s not always the case at the more common size local congregation with its three-digit attendance. It’s a perfect environment to introduce children to what it means to lead in worship and to have instilled in them that they truly are important to this particular body of believers.
The benefits to the congregation are numerous! When children are included in worship leadership, they bring with them a certain enthusiasm and lightheartedness, and that’s something everybody needs to be reminded of. After all, the scriptures tell us, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Children bring a smile, either to our faces or to our hearts, but really what they bring is strength. One of the most difficult things for anyone to do when they come into worship is to check their worries of everyday life at the door and give God their undivided attention. Children have a blessed way of breaking down barriers, refocusing our attention, and moving us physically into a more relaxed state. With that accomplished, everyone is definitely more ready to worship. I heard a lady say one day, “When I walk in the door on Sunday and see that the children will be singing, I know it’s going to be a good morning. They always set the tone for praising.” They change an atmosphere of quiet and tradition and stoic faces to one of celebration and praise!