8 Keys to Developing Kids who are Responsive in Worship
8 Goals for Children’s Ministries "Responsive in Worship"
by Kelly Presson / September 27, 2017
I am a huge proponent of leading kids in worship. I grew up in the church, have heard thousands of messages, yet I can remember only a few details from all the sermons I’ve heard. What I can remember vividly are the times when I knew I was in the presence of God, and the majority of those times involved worship.
I want the children I lead to know what the presence of God is like. I want to lead them in a way that develops them as true worshipers, the kind the Father seeks.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23, NIV).
I love those times when I can actually see on their faces that they are having their own personal encounter with the Spirit of God—those times when parents contact me to tell me of their children’s testimonies of knowing that God is real and that He has spoken directly to them.
If we as Kidmin leaders fail to jealously pursue these sacred moments, we will easily move forward with simpler things each week and miss opportunities that can leave an indelible mark on the children’s lives.
There is never a Sunday where we haven’t planned on having a dedicated worship time. Here are some steps I suggest taking to ensure your times of worship are focused and effective:
1. Plan time in your children’s ministry each week for a time of worship.
Some weeks I schedule worship before the Bible lesson. At other times I wait until before or even after our altar time. It is a very rare occasion that we miss a dedicated time of worship. I have made worship a priority of ministry my entire career. I have seen the supernatural fruit and spiritual foundation importance of developing a heart of worship in children.
”During times of worship, kids discover a more intimate relationship with God than what they experience through prayer” (Strong Enough to Last, David Boyd, p. 45).
2. Music choice is critical.
I suggest you choose worship music that is modern—i.e., music that is consistent with what kids are choosing to listen to. Some “kids’ worship” music sacrifices content and anointing. I am always looking for anointed worship music that isn’t too wordy and that has content kids understand. At the same time, I want worship music that helps take my kids deep into worship.
It is important at times to explain a word or two to your kids about the song so they can fully connect with what they are singing. It is a great idea to define a word or concept as part of your teaching on how and why we worship God.
I have also found it to be a good idea to collaborate with others who have an anointing to lead worship. They are a great source of music suggestions. I have found some of my favorite worship songs by asking others what they are using.
3. Set the example and ask your leadership to do the same.
Your kids are watching you and your leadership as their example of what worshipers look like. Make certain you are worshiping from your heart. Even though you have other things on the agenda, your worship must be heartfelt and authentic. I have often spoken to my leaders about the importance of worshiping openly in front of our kids. We must worship the way we would love to see all of them worship, because we will reproduce what we are.
4. Diligently seek His presence.
Cultivate your own desire to worship Him intimately. We cannot lead kids to some place we are not familiar with. Pray earnestly for God’s manifest presence to show up in your service. Worship invites the supernatural!
Inspire kids to have their own personal worship time, because they love to worship and be in God’s presence. Suggest that they spend some time each week in their bedroom, worshiping God.
“The spiritual journey of kids intensifies when they discover the joy of loving God” (Strong Enough to Last, David Boyd, p. 44).
5. Encourage many forms of worship.
Hands lifted, quiet meditation, eyes closed, listening for God’s voice, etc.
It is important to teach kids to worship God with all their hearts. Explain why we lift our hands, close our eyes, etc., and encourage each child to participate. I want the kids I pastor to be outwardly passionate in their worship. However, we can get caught up in looking at outward signs of worship and miss God speaking to kids in a still, small voice. Some of the sweetest times of worship are times when I have seen kids quietly moved to tears as God made himself real to their heart.
6. Know that God desires to meet with His children.
a. Give adequate time for God to speak to quieted hearts.
Early in my career, during a worship time with teens, God spoke to my heart. He said He wanted the young people that I pastored to know the way into His presence so well that they could find it in the dark, with a storm swirling around them. How they would be able to do that would be because the path into His presence was so well worn that they could find their way even if everything around them was filled with turmoil.
I must make certain I am helping kids make a well-worn path to and from the presence of God through worship.
b. Make time to pause and let God speak to their hearts. Remember, information focuses on the head; transformation goes farther and deals with the heart.
7. Don’t be discouraged if worship time seems difficult; teach them how to worship.
Many times it can feel like the kids are not interested or into worship. Remember that worship is something the enemy does not want your kids to experience or to develop. You should expect that there will be opposition and distractions.
Don’t get discouraged and quit! The rewards of seeing kids actively pursuing and worshiping God is worth the effort.
Would you be willing to trade 10 difficult worship times for one incredible worship time, where your kids are touched by the presence of God? I promise that IF you will make worship a priority in your kids’ ministry, you will see the presence of the Holy Spirit move and kids grow as worshipers.
8. Watch God move in the lives of the children you serve.
When you make it a strategic goal to raise up kids who are responsive in worship, you will begin to see God move supernaturally in their lives. One word spoken directly to a child’s heart will produce more than all our words, illustrations, and messages combined.
When we lay the groundwork that the Holy Spirit can walk on, He will draw the hearts of the children to Jesus. You will have worship times that your kids are excited for—times where the kids will ask you if they can continue to worship and moments where kids will minister to others in the room because they heard and responded to the voice of the Holy Spirit.