Values for corporate worship, Value #8

This is the eighth (and final!) column in a series I’m writing to describe our goals and values for corporate worship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worship gatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. We also value congregational engagement, cultural sensitivity, creative excellence, personal expressiveness, and musical variety. Our final value is family togetherness.

We believe God has given parents the primary responsibility for passing on the faith to their children. The church’s role in the faith formation of children is secondary and supportive. Parents must teach their children at home, both formally and informally, recognizing the family as God’s main learning community. We would much prefer our children learn to worship God from their parents rather than a group of their peers.

Furthermore, we believe God has ordained fathers to play the primary role in these relationships, providing spiritual leadership for the entire family by their own pursuit of God and theological instruction. Fathers exercise inescapable influence in shaping their family members’ spiritual lives, including how they worship God corporately.

We also believe it is impossible to overestimate the influence of families doing valuable things together week after week, yet we recognize that the hectic pace of American life leaves little time for significant togetherness. Furthermore, we believe worship is the most valuable thing a human can do. The cumulative effect of hundreds of worship meetings with Mom and Dad as a young person is incalculable.

Finally, we believe children’s aptitudes are often far higher than we would guess. In addition, children absorb far more during worship meetings than merely the abstract truth-content of the sermon.

Practically, this value of family togetherness means:

  • We worship God together on Sunday morning at least once a month, providing childcare for only the youngest members of our congregation.
  • We endeavor to equip families, especially parents, to train their children at home, recognizing that a child’s ability to sit through a worship meeting develops over time.
  • We communicate to children 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 their parents.