"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

I Love Springs of Grace & Why we don’t have children’s church on Sundays & Why we do have a Wednesday night Spring Kids program for children to learn, treasure and memorize God’s Word

Sunday night I was blessed by a dad telling me that his nearly 4 year old son had gotten something out of the message that morning. The title of my message was “Dogs, Pigs and Pearls“. This young boy had become convinced that he needed a pig for a pet and my sermon was proof! 🙂

Now that wasn’t the main theological point I was trying to get across but I’m so glad he was in the service. It was a reminder of the progressive benefit of having children be a part of our worship services. Twenty five years ago, Rosa and I were apart of starting a new church in Texas and that church was blessed with a good number of children. We thought about the benefits of age appropriate teaching and the possibility of having a children’s service. We decided that the benefit of age appropriate teaching could and should happen at other times – like Sunday morning bible studies and Wednesday night bible memory programs but that Sunday morning worship ought to be a time children get to see and participate in and be influenced by their parents and other Christians worshipping our great God.

John Piper and Noel Piper published an article that we later were blessed by that articulated well what we were pursuing in having our children (once they got to be 3 or 4) worship with us. I was reminded of this today when I read this “Ask Pastor John” blog. You can read it here: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/should-children-sit-through-big-church

You can read the original article here along with some great practical tips from Noel Piper about how to get started with your kids. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-family-together-in-gods-presence

I’m sure there are many people who have benefitted greatly from children’s church over the years and for those who have used it to teach children God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus, I AM VERY THANKFUL. I’m not saying that we have the only good method. But at Springs of Grace I have been excited to watch children over the past 15 years grow in their understanding of what is going on as we gather to worship our living Savior. I love seeing children sing the songs of worship or follow along on the Bible responsive readings or as I read the text for the sermon. Every now and then I get a picture that a kid has drawn about the message and sometimes feedback last Sunday about the pet pig. I treasure every one of these things.

I pray every Saturday night that the children of Springs of Grace would catch something of the great joy and awesomeness there is in worshipping our God.

I love what Piper writes, “It seemed to us that for at least one hour a week out of 168 we should sustain a maximum intensity of moving reverence….And our arguments for bringing children to worship, of course, will only carry weight with parents who really love that, who really love to meet God in worship and really want their kids to get that and grow up breathing that air. The greatest stumbling block for children in worship is parents who don’t cherish doing that worship. They don’t love it. Children can feel the difference between duty and delight. They know if dad loves being here.”

Piper goes on to say, “The first and most important job of a parent…” (and I would add – spiritual parents and those who would pray and model for children and youth that don’t have a parent modeling and praying for them) “is to fall in love with the worship of God. Any sense of being there out of duty or being forced to or some other reason besides I love being here, kids know that and they will hate it just like you do, deep down. You can’t impart what you don’t possess. And this is what you want your children to catch. You want them to catch authentic worship. Authentic, heartfelt worship is the most valuable thing in human experience. Think of it. The cumulative effect of 650 worship services spent with mom and dad” (or other authentic worshippers of God) “in authentic communion with God and his people between the ages of 4 and 17 is utterly incalculable.”

There are other times when we do intentionally give help to parents in teaching children the Bible at their age level. The Bible calls us to this in 1 Timothy 2 and other places when it commands the older men to teach the younger and the older women to teach the younger. Age based teaching is biblical and I am excited about our new Spring KIDS program  beginning on Wednesday nights where our children will get challenged to memorize God’s Word and hide the truths of God’s Word in their hearts.

spring kids-01

Please join me in praying for the children at Springs of Grace.

Pastor Joe