The current trend in the Christian world is to evaluate the presence or absence of children and youth in a church building (much like the worship wars and trends a few years past). A lot of the churches want to move from having dedicated children’s environments to incorporating children in the main sanctuary. While there are really good intentions in doing it, there really needs to be a whole revamp of the meaning of ‘church’ and how we engage as ‘church’.
Worship is what we were created for. That being the case it is far from enough if we merely ‘worship’ on sundays. So what is ‘worship’? Its our praise, our adoration and our acknowledgement and proclamation that our God is Lord over all. So worship can be sung, danced, drawn, prayed. Worship includes the choices we make on a day to day basis. Our worship is fed by the reading and pondering over scriptures. And this is all we do at ‘church’ (as a building). And yes this is all we can do in our own homes. So wait, why then should there be the concept of church – The church is the people. The church exists to empower and encourage the peoples (one another). We go to church (the building) to enquire of how God has been revealing Himself to others(the people-church), to hear testimonies, to share burdens and to share how God has been revealing Himself to us -“God sightings”, if you will. Worship happens as we see our God through another’s experience. We stand in awe of how God works in another person’s life. And worship, meditation and praise happens everyday on your knees, and as you walk and sit down. Jesus in His conversation with a Samaritan woman at the well says “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”(John 4:21,23,24)
Basically it is a spiral effect. What happens between me and my God during the week is personal and at my level ; so does what happens between you and God during the week. But God is soooooo much bigger than us, our imagination and our individual perceptions that in order to see a little more of Himself, to know Him a little more than you already do we need each other. And that’s where our corporate worship comes in. We need each other, we need to hear each other’s stories so we can know God a little bit more.
So as a primary care giver how does one prepare for the gathering on sundays? Ask the Holy Spirit how you might encourage another, prepare your heart by pondering over what God has already shown you over the week. Talk about your God-sightings with your little ones and hear theirs. Come prepared to engage in worship. Picture yourself before the throne of God in the presence of His people from all tribes and nations and join with the angels. Let your little ones know that it is a time to see how much bigger God is, to see God through the eyes of others.