Martha Brooks, Children’s Ministry Coordinator, gave an encouraging children’s ministry update last week in worship. In her update, she announced the creation of a new ministry resource for parents and children—a weekly Children’s Worship Bulletin. Her content was so good that I asked Martha to write the Pastoral Notes this week, so that those who missed her report could catch the vision for this new ministry tool.
It was such a delight to get to share a little with you about our new Children’s Worship Bulletin in service last Sunday. While I can talk to children all day long, speaking to adults is a different matter! Thank you for your grace as I attempted to outline our hopes for this new tool.
I want to reiterate how much we welcome children, with all the noise and chatter and life they bring to worship. We are not choosing to include them in corporate worship, the central act of our covenant community, for what they can get out of it. Nobody’s three year old is taking sermon notes and neither are most twelve year olds. Even as adults, worship is never about what we can get out of it. It is about the worship we offer to our Lord. Choosing to include children in the service makes a powerful statement to them about that 90 minute segment of our week: it is important, it is formative, it is necessary. We want to set high expectations that children can participate, they can offer worship to Jesus Christ, and that what they offer is necessary to the life of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. It says to them, “You are not only welcome, you are needed!” which Jesus himself said in Matthew 19:14.
Preston and I well remember the days of our girls lolling about the pews, crawling underneath to retrieve dropped cheerios, kicking the pew of the older couple in front of us, and the humiliation of walking out with a screaming child. #thestruggleisreal for those of you in the throes of parenting small children. It is the desire of the children’s ministry to help you make the transition, to work with you, to offer you tools and time, and to walk alongside you as you teach your kids about worship. The Children’s Worship Bulletin is a first step, designed to draw the children into the worship service, not distract them from it. Please pray for us as a Children’s Ministry team and for your pastors as we are looking toward and planning for more ways to help teach our covenant children to worship.
If you aren’t a parent of preschool or school-aged children but have stuck with me to the end, let me encourage you to give a smile to a struggling mom and dad. Get to know the children in the pew sitting next to you: ask them their age, their school, their favorite thing that happened this week. Throw a bag of crayons in your purse or pocket to pull out and offer. Interest from an adult who isn’t their parent makes children feel so important. And when you feel distracted by the children around you, PRAY. Pray for the child who keeps bumping you or is tussling with his brother or the parent doing the walk of shame with the toddler throwing a tantrum. Children require patience, and prayer is the greatest tool we have.
Please contact me anytime to discuss this or any matter further. I am very excited about what the Lord is doing at Cornerstone and thrilled I get to be a part of it. I covet your prayers as I continue seeking the Lord for clear direction and leading in the Children’s Ministry.