WHY COVENANTAL WORSHIP?
The Family Together
in God’s Presence
At Open Door Community Church we worship together with our children on the first Sunday of every month. This brochure is to help you understand why we do this and to give some practical help to parents.
WHAT IS COVENANTAL WORSHIP?
Covenantal worship means that we approach the Lord in worship, not simply as individuals, but as members of the covenant community of faith, of which we believe, children are to be included. Basically, covenantal worship is covenant families worshipping together, children and adults, both young and old.
WHY COVENANTAL WORSHIP?
Many of us grew up in churches in which the children worshipped with children, the youth with youth, the adults with adults a compartmentalized church or an age-segregated church. Is this the way it ought to be so that our specific needs can be meet? We don’t believe so.
The church is not merely a place where you get your specific needs met in an age-specific group. The church is the people of God standing before God to worship, learn, grow, heed his Word, and be equipped for service.
There is much talk today about becoming more “multi-ethnic” because diversity glorifies God and demonstrates a picture of heavenly worship. There is much truth in that. But there is also truth in becoming more “multi-generational” because this glorifies God and demonstrates a picture of heavenly worship as well.
Covenantal worship is not merely rooted in an idealized picture in someone’s mind of a happy family sitting quietly together to worship. Covenantal worship is rooted in God’s covenant promises in the Bible.
And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
In the Old Testament, when God made a covenant to Abraham he included the offspring or children of Abraham. God’s covenant promises included children. Children were consider part of the covenant community of faith.
This notion of the children of believers being included in the covenant is not just an Old Testament concept but shows its continuity in the New Testament as evidenced by Acts 2:39.
For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
Children are to be included in the covenant community of faith. That is why we refer to children of believers as “covenant children.” That is why in our church, like many other churches, we baptize children of believers.
But does this mean that children have to worship together with adults? Not necessarily. In fact, we only have “covenantal worship” once a month. The other Sundays, children meet for a brief “children’s worship” and have children’s Sunday School.
What is important is that we get into a pattern of including children rather than segregating them. It is good for families to be together, doing the most important thing - worshipping God. In today’s society there is an increasing fragmentation of families. When families regularly worship together, like having family dinners, it has far more impact than one can imagine for the spiritual health of a family.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus did not find children a distraction, rather he took them in his arms and blessed them. He even told the crowd that you need to be like children if you want to go to heaven. We can learn from children in how to be child-like in our faith. The children learn from us, to learn what is to be mature in our faith and worship. Jesus wanted the children to come to him. So, I hope you can also welcome children into worship and teach them by example what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth.
A Message for Children
Children, we welcome you to Covenant Family Worship. Once a month our church gathers together with children and adults to worship God.
Worship is the most important thing that we can do in life and it is the main reason why we were created by God - to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever!
Here are some instructions to help you worship God:
1) LOOK up front. Instead of talking with someone beside you or looking down at something on your lap or table, Look up front to see what’s going on.
2) LISTEN to what people are singing or praying. Listen to the Pastor’s instructions and to the Pastor’s sermon. Most importantly, listen to God’s Word.
3) LEARN - if you look and listen, you will learn. You will learn how to sing songs that worship God. You will learn how to pray. You will learn what God’s Word says and means. And you will learn how you can apply God’s Word to your life.
We are so glad that you are with us to worship God together. So LOOK, LISTEN and LEARN how to worship God. But don’t just look, listen and learn. SING with us. PRAY with us. WORSHIP with us.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR PARENTS
Parents, you have the primary responsibility to teach your children the most important thing in life - to worship God. The pastor, church officers, and teachers are here to assist you in this task, but you have to step up to the task and instruct your children before, during and after worship. Here are some suggestions to help you:
1. Don’t be a stumbling block. The greatest stumbling block for children in worship is that their parents do not cherish worship. Children can feel the difference between a sense of duty and a sense of delight. Therefore the first and most important job of a parent is to fall in love with the worship of God. You can’t impart what you don’t possess. So spend time throughout the week cultivating your relationship with the Lord in prayer and the Word.
2. Prepare for worship throughout the week, but especially on Saturday. Get Sunday clothes ready, say a prayer together, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
3, Come early to church, take your children to the bathroom so that they will not have to go during the worship. Give them a bulletin, if they are able to read, and go over the different elements of worship. Explain any unfamiliar words to them.
4. Sit with your children and, if necessary, whisper instruction during the service. Encourage them to LOOK, LISTEN and LEARN.
5. Help them look up the Scripture passage and fill in the blanks on the Sermon Notes.
6. Pray with and for your children.
7. Be patient with your children, but also be consistent and persistent about your instruction. Remember the goal is not for them to learn to be quiet during worship but to learn to worship.