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Patient, flexible parents can help children worship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Adults wiggle, giggle, talk and, yes, even sleep during worship services, a national consultant in children’s ministry maintains, so parents should lighten up with children who do not behave perfectly.

“Be patient and be flexible,” Todd Capps, children’s Sunday school ministry consultant at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, told participants in the Children’s Worship Conference, March 19-21, in Nashville, Tenn.

“An effort to demand perfect behavior from a young child may prevent worship from being a happy experience for both the child and the parent,” Capps observed.

While children and adults view worship differently, the ways adults demonstrate attitudes through their actions are easily observed by children, he said.

Preschoolers and children learn about worship through firsthand experiences, he said, such as singing, standing when others stand, listening to the music and holding a hymnal. Curiosity, repetition and imitation pave the way for children to learn.

Parents and other adults can help children adjust to participating in worship services by paying attention to them, by greeting them and calling them by name, by permitting some movement and noise and by encouraging their participation in the service, Capps said.

“Accept the nurture of children as a responsibility of the entire church family,” he continued. “Remember, worship begins in the home. Children learn to worship God from parents who show their own love for God during daily routines, and they sense your commitment and feelings toward God when you talk about him.”

Prayers that are not memorized are a great tool for teaching children about God, Capps said.

“Expressing gratitude for the small things is important,” he noted.

The Children’s Worship Conference was sponsored by LifeWay’s pastor-staff leadership department.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: TODD CAPPS.

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  • Charles Willis