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Children’s worship leaders urged to return childhood to children

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Today’s children, many of whom have their childhood taken from them early in life, should have their spiritual childhood returned to them, a Southern Baptist pastor told children’s worship leaders meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

The Children’s Worship Conference, March 20-22, was held at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Frank Lewis, pastor of First Baptist Church, Nashville, said Southern Baptists have become proficient in evangelism but deficient in worship.

“Worship can be evangelism,” he said, “but it has other elements, too. If we are going to give our children a spiritual childhood, we have to help them to understand the value of God’s Word and to have the ability to listen to it.”

Adults need to help children “realize God still speaks and that what he says is precious,” Lewis said.

Children’s worship leaders need to lead parents “to reclaim the biblical responsibility of blessing their children,” he continued. When his first child was still very young, he recounted, he began the practice of blessing her after she had said her prayers at bedtime. The tradition has continued with both his children, and he said he hopes they will remember that blessing when they face temptations as youth.

“It is as simple as placing my hand on their heads and saying, ‘Be wise, be strong and be pure. In Jesus’ name, amen.'”

Whether children worship with their parents or in a separate children’s service, Lewis said pastors and leaders should ask themselves if what takes place is meaningful and spiritually transforming to boys and girls.

Lewis listed five factors necessary for every worship service: God must be honored, the culture of the congregation should be engaged, intellect should be stimulated, hearts should be moved and lives should be changed.

Today’s children are growing up in a landscape completely different from that of their parents, Lewis noted.

“We must do everything we can to get our children to Jesus,” he said. “If we don’t get them to Jesus, there are too many other places that will get them.”

LifeWay’s church resources division sponsored the Children’s Worship Conference. Special-interest seminars were offered, along with demonstrations of varied children’s worship services.

Information about next year’s Children’s Worship Conference, March 19-21 in Nashville, may be directed to Pamela Boucher, children’s worship consultant for LifeWay at (615) 251-3614 or by e-mail to [email protected].

A related photograph, “Children’s Worship Conference” is posted in the BP Photo Library at www.sbcbaptistpress.org.

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  • Charles Willis