Friday, November 20, 2009

Let Me Entertain You -- NOT!

In our homeschooling schedule, I have recently started group time before we officially "start school". This is a time for prayer, praise and any information I need to share with my girls. It has been somewhat difficult. My youngest (7 years old) has a very hard time sitting still and not being disruptive during this time. I can not blame her totally for her behavior--I have tacitly allowed it. What a terrible disservice I have done to my daughter. Well, all that is going to change. Not just in our homeschooling but also in the way we "do" everything--even church.

I was reading a Voddie Baucham article about family worship and including younger children. It has really opened my eyes.

This is one of the songs that he uses in his worship time. It brought back memories of my childhood.

I especially like this from his post:
Worship is not about entertainment. Worship is a solemn encounter. Sure, there are times when we have powerful, emotional encounters with God. However, those are not the norm. And when we try to make that the norm, we miss a very important truth. Spiritual Disciplines are just that... Disciplines! . . . We don’t believe every meal needs to be a grand feast, do we? Unfortunately, somebody told us that worship should be ‘exciting’ and ‘fun’ and we believed them. The fact is, sometimes worship is boring, and that’s alright. Dinner is boring sometimes too, but we still need to eat . . . How do we expect this from children whose entire religious foundation is built upon entertainment? Ironically, one of the most important things small children learn in family worship is the discipline of ‘sitting through’ something that is not necessarily entertaining.

"Sitting through" . . . I like that. The word "enduring" came to mind. Sometimes, I endure a service. It is so hard for the words of the songs to even come out of my mouth, but I endure through it. Even though I don't have a "fireworks" experience, it is okay. God is there and is ministering to me.

I feel that our church misses that very point--before every worship song we are told how awesome we are supposed to feel while singing this particular song. You know sometimes I do feel awesome--but there are times that I sing the songs and don't quite "feel" it the way I think they want me too. That bothers me--not my feelings but the expectations that are being put on my worship experience by well-meaning folks. I worry about other folks who have the same experience that I have. Do they think something is wrong with their spiritual walk because they don't feel all warm and fuzzy after every praise song?

I sometimes feel so old--I don't remember having all this stuff during church. We sang hymns/praise songs, had Bible reading and a sermon. None of the bells and whistles that they have now. I am not anti-technology, in fact I love technology. I do not think it should not be used just because it is there. I don't quite understand video taping the church announcements with all the fancy editing. I would be nice to have a living person make the announcements.

We are training our children to have the same expectation. They are subjected to all these bells and whistles when they attend children's church and then when they are in 4th grade and are required to go to big church, we wonder why they are bored and can't behave. So we tailor church to satisfy that need.

I am just as guilty of sending my kids to children's church. That is going to change. I know it is going to be hard and at times, I know many stares are going to come from people because we are going to have to enforce some discipline, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

Until next time . . .

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

Voddie Baucham's article is a real challenge. Thanks for sharing it.

We have always had family worship in our home, but we deliberately choose to gears ours to 7yo Jemimah's level. She is the only child, and it is important imho for everyone to understand this important part of our daily life. In fact, this is the only time we use a Children's Story Bible.

We also sing one or two Psalms (in English and French, actually!) and pray. We all love this time.

I wish you all the best as you develop this routine with your family.

I know it is trite, but I've gotta say it:

"The family that prays together stays together."

Thanks for listing my blog in your sidebar. I appreciate it. Come and join in the discussions some time - I'll love to hear from you!!