Having served several years as a Minister of Children, I heard, "my children aren\’t getting anything out of worship." As I talked with parents, I encouraged them to ask their children questions about the sermon. It always amazed me the number of parents who returned to tell me that their children could actually tell them things the pastor had said. In the last few weeks I have made it more of a point to ask my daughters questions about the pastor’s sermon. (Let me be completely honest and say – I really started this because my oldest daughter has moved into the youth ministry and now sits with a group of teenagers during worship.)
Two weeks ago my youngest daughter and I found ourselves sitting on a pew that would comfortably hold maybe 10 people. For some reason that seemed to be the pew everyone wants to sit on (I think we had 14 adults and children packed together). Carrington asked me if she could sit on the floor in front of us. Since it was an open area I told her yes. I watched her during the sermon time. She wrote down everything the pastor displayed during his sermon. At one point Pastor Gerald stated, "Be still and know that I am God." I watched Carrington during this point. She wrote it down and moved on.
On the drive home, I asked her to tell me what she heard during the sermon. Carrington stated, "Pastor Gerald said, \’Be still.\’ I did not want to move until he told me to be still." I thought, how ironic. How many of us want to move instead of being still and listening to God.
This past Sunday, Pastor Gerald spoke on stewardship. He made a point about needs vs. wants. Knowing that Saturday is Carrington’s birthday I leaned over and asked her, "Do you really need a new bike or is it a want." She did not respond verbally, but the look told me, she felt it was a need. On the drive home, Carrington said, "I need a new bike. It is not a want. I need a new bike because then we can go biking together and you can lose weight. You said you need to lose weight so if you get me a new bike, it will meet a need." Guess I\’m not going to argue with that logic.
Listening to children talk about their worship experiences is a great way to help us understand their level of comprehension. I remember sitting with my parents in worship and then talking with them about what we experienced as a family. The next time someone asks, "Are my children getting anything out of worship?" ask them to invite their children to tell them what they hear. Carrington has taught me to listen more and even to listen as a nine, almost ten year old.