August 12

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.” (Psalm 95:6-9)

“Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…” (Hebrews 12:28)

“Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Revelation 15:3-4)

Corporate worship as a family is expected by God; it is commanded in the Old and New Testaments. Regular worship prepares us for eternal worship of God in the life to come. The Barna Group did research on the impact of church worship on children: “When it comes to church engagement, those who attended Sunday school or other religious programs as children or as teens were much more likely than those without such experiences to attend church and to have an active faith as adults. For instance, among those who frequently attended such programs as a child, 50% said they attended a worship service in the last week, which is slightly higher than the national average and well ahead of those who rarely or never attended children’s programs. Among those who frequently attended religious programs as teenagers, 58% said they had attended a worship service in the last week. In comparison, less frequent participation as a teenager correlated with less frequent adult participation.

“Finally, the research revealed that adult church leaders usually have serious involvement in church life and training when they are young. Statistics gathered by Barna’s firm among a national sample of pastors, church staff, and lay leaders showed that more than four out of five of those leaders had consistently been involved in the ministry to children for an extended period of years before age 13. One implication is that the individuals who will become the church’s leaders two decades from now are probably active in church programs today.” (1)

Teenagers who want to attend church are in the minority, but those who have grown up doing so on Sundays as a regular occurrence enjoy corporate worship with their church family. Attending church on Sundays should not be an “event” but a normal activity in the life of the family, to join with our greater family in Christ. “‘There is a well-known narrative shaping our perception of teenagers,’ says Sharon Galgay Ketcham, associate professor of theology and Christian ministries at Gordon College and a contributor to the State of Youth Ministry report. ‘The narrative is as old as the socially created category “teenager” that emerged in the 1900s. We hear it daily in the media…the idea that teenagers are broken, deficient and in need of help. We problematize teenagers and use significant resources to try and fix them. This narrative evokes fear and, in loving response, parents are desperate to keep them safe. I am not saying we live in a danger-free world; of course there are real dangers. What I am saying is that teenagers are more than problems to solve—they have potential as human beings, and surely God sees their potential in Jesus Christ through the work of the Spirit… Imagine if we saw teenagers as Christ does: full of potential to join God’s purpose.’” (2)

Are you convinced about helping your teens learn to love church worship? What will it take to convince you and them that Sunday worship is essential to their development as children of God who are called to eternal worship?

(1) The Barna Group, “New Research Explores the Long Term Effect of Spiritual Activity Among Children and Teens,” https://www.barna.com/research/new-research-explores-the-long-term-effect-of-spiritual-activity-among-children-and-teens/

(2) The Barna Group, “The State of Youth Ministry,” Released at the National Youth Workers Convention in November 2016 (NYWC: Cincinnati).https://shop.barna.com/products/the-state-of-youth-ministry

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