Book Review: Teaching Kids Authentic Worship

teaching kids authentic worshipI know, I know.  Another non-fiction book in a span of just a couple weeks.  You’re probably wondering who are you and what have you done with my Debily?  But I promise, this is only small diversion.  Every once in awhile I *have* to read a work-related or ministry-related book.  I’ll get back to my regularly-scheduled brain candy shortly.

This book was loaned to me by my ministry “boss”, our children’s pastor.  Knowing that my passion is children’s worship, he didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this would probably be a good book for me to read.  But since I don’t read nonfiction, it sat on my nightstand for several days weeks months years.  So long, in fact, that there are multiple – MULTIPLE – hot chocolate rings on the cover where I used it as a coaster during chilly winter nights. Yeah, I know.  Oops.

I won’t bore you with details, but the time finally came to dust off the cover, dive in and plow through.  And in the end, it was a little bit pat-myself-on-the-back and a little bit facepalm.  To be honest, it was actually a lot of both, but I don’t want to brag.

So for the pat-on-the-back bit, I’ll travel back in time 5 years, to the spring of 2009.  I had been asked by our elementary director to “come up with a little talk for the kids about worship.  You know, what it is and why we do it and why it’s important.”  Because apparently they just weren’t “getting it” – they were disengaged, half-heartedly participating, missing the blessing that comes with full-on worship of our great and amazing God.  Sure, I agreed.  No problem.  Piece of cake.  I mean, it’s what I do.  It’s part of my DNA.  It’s in my blood, man.  Except there was one slight problem: even up to the morning of “the talk”, I had no earthly idea what to say.  Or how to say it.  I’d been praying.  I’d been thinking.  I’d been asking God to show me, give me the words.  But every time I sat down to put pen to paper (or, more realistically, fingers to keyboard), the result was theological gobbledy-gook.  Definitely not the kind of material that would inspire children to engage in worship.  In fact, it was the kind of material that would disengage them further, or put them to sleep.  Neither outcome was particularly desirable.  As He often does, however, God waited until I was in the shower – sort of a “captive audience” kind of thing – to reveal a powerful message about worship, in a way that would be meaningful and relevant to children.  In a nutshell, it was this:

Worship doesn’t begin with “W”.  Worship begins with “A”:

Audience: We worship an audience of One.  True worship is focused on God and God alone.

Attitude: Worship is an attitude of surrender, of yielding myself to God’s word and God’s ways.

Actions:  Worship engages the whole person: our mind, emotions, and physical bodies.  God created us to worship Him with all that we are.

Pretty awesome, huh?  Now,  I will describe the content of this book in three easy sections.  Section 1: The Who of Worship.  Section 2: The How of Worship.  Section 3: The Why of Worship.  In other words: Audience.  Attitude.  Actions.  In other words:  I nailed it.  Or, rather, God nailed it into my brain, but I listened pretty well.  That, my friends, was the pat-on-the-back moment.

That was also the facepalm moment.  As in: I could have written this book.  *smack*  As in: I should have written this book.  As in:  it’s too late.  It’s already been written.  And now, blogged.

Regardless of who wrote the material, and who copyrighted the material, and who thought of it first, it’s great material.  Spot-on.  Biblically sound and absolutely necessary.  Inspiring for those of us who work regularly with children and desire to see them worship their God with passion and focus.

Ultimately, that’s the important thing.  And really, the only thing that matters.