Values For Corporate Worship November 24, 2014
This is theeighth (and final!) column in a series I’m writing to describe our goals andvalues for corporate worship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worshipgatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. We alsovalue congregational engagement, cultural sensitivity, creative excellence,personal expressiveness, and musical variety. Our final value is familytogetherness.
We believeGod has given parents the primary responsibility for passing on the faith totheir children. The church’s role in the faith formation of children issecondary and supportive. Parents must teach their children at home, bothformally and informally, recognizing the family as God’s main learningcommunity. We would much prefer our children learn to worship God from theirparents rather than a group of their peers.
Furthermore,we believe God has ordained fathers to play the primary role in theserelationships, providing spiritual leadership for the entire family by theirown pursuit of God and theological instruction. Fathers exercise inescapableinfluence in shaping their family members’ spiritual lives, including how theyworship God corporately.
We alsobelieve it is impossible to overestimate the influence of families doingvaluable things together week after week, yet we recognize that the hectic paceof American life leaves little time for significant togetherness. Furthermore,we believe worship is the most valuable thing a human can do. The cumulativeeffect of hundreds of worship meetings with Mom and Dad as a young person is incalculable.
Finally, webelieve children’s aptitudes are often far higher than we would guess. Inaddition, children absorb far more during worship meetings than merely theabstract truth-content of the sermon.
Practically,this value of family togetherness means:
- We worship Godtogether on Sunday morning at least once a month, providing childcare for onlythe youngest members of our congregation.
- We endeavor toequip families, especially parents, to train their children at home,recognizing that a child’s ability to sit through a worship meeting developsover time.
- We communicate tochildren that we are aware of and we value their presence in corporate worship,helping them to perceive the meeting as a time for them and not just theirparents.