From Pastor Matt

This Sunday we will be joined in the worship service by the members of the Children’s Choirs and the Friends Choir as they will help lead us in worship through special musical selections. As pastors we think it is very important that we include children in our worship services.

It is a wonderful thing that we have amazing volunteers who care for our children in the nurseries and lead them in Sunday School classes that are catered to where they are in their various stages of learning and development. It is a great thing that Pastor Jamie has Junior Church where Elementary School aged children begin learning what it’s like to be in a corporate worship service, but are still able to understand most of what is happening. We also believe that it is very important that our children regularly see the corporate worship of God modeled by His people even if they don’t understand all of what is happening. This is why there are several times throughout the year that Pastor Jamie will cancel Junior Church so that the children can come into the worship service with their parents and other adults and experience it.

Last week we talked about the importance of Family Discipleship and Family Worship. While the call to disciple our children is not primarily or entirely laid on the shoulders of the church, the church does play a very crucial role in discipling our children. Without consistent week-after-week attendance to corporate worship our children will miss an important part of what it means to follow Christ. If we don’t regularly have our children present with the Body of Christ, either through Junior Church, Sunday School or “adult church” (or all 3) it will be more difficult for them to grow up and understand the crucial role that the church plays in the life of every believer. It will be difficult for them to have a context for how to follow the 59 “one-another” commands in the New Testament.

With this in mind, we also shouldn’t fool ourselves and think that having children present in worship is only to their benefit. As we learned about in last week’s sermon, Jesus tells us that unless we have child-like faith and humility then we will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18). And, likewise, in Matthew 19 Jesus tells his disciples not to hinder children from coming to him, “for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” So, it is important for us to be reminded of these characteristics as we see them on display in our children.

Imitation is an important spiritual discipline that we must keep in mind even if our surrounding culture tells us that it isn’t “authentic”. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul tells us to be “imitators of [him], as [he] is of Christ.” Our children need to see mature believers in Christ who have persevered through many years of “taking up their cross and following Christ” regularly gathering to worship Him in unity.

So, as our Children’s and Friends Choirs join us this Sunday, let your hearts rejoice as you see child-like faith and humility on display and as we seek to show them what it looks like to faithfully follow Christ and worship Him together.

Preparing for Sunday:

As we prepare for Sunday, let’s pray that God continues to remind us of what it means to worship Him. Let us look forward to the time when we will once again be able to “rehearse” the gospel as we are confronted with God’s greatness and our desperate need for Him, as we remind each other of the grace of Jesus Christ that is ours because of His death and resurrection! I would encourage you to read through Matthew 18 as we prepare to hear the Word proclaimed through Pastor Mark’s sermon on The Gospel and Church Conflict. Take a look HERE at the order of worship and sing through some of the songs with your family as you prepare. Thank God for his amazing faithfulness as we celebrate our church anniversary month and as we sing Never Once and Great Is Thy Faithfulness together on Sunday. Ask God to remind us of the weight and importance of taking the Lord’s Supper together as we, His Body, share in the representations of His Body broken for us and His blood shed for our sins. Take the time to pray for our youth choirs as they prepare to sing for us and help lead us. And finally, ask God to continue to change our desires as a church as we realize more and more that our satisfaction, joy, peace, and unity are found in Him alone.

See you Sunday!