by Jill DuBois
I recently had the privilege of taking twenty-three 4th and 5th graders to an overnight conference tailored to their age group. The kids were able to hear messages tailored to them, see a Ninja Warrior complete some pretty cool obstacle courses, and experience several moments of pure, beautiful worship. When asked what a highlight of the weekend was for them, a common theme that was mentioned was the time we spent worshipping.
We are beings created to worship our God, and it’s good to be reminded that even young children have that yearning within them, too. One of my most powerful moments of the conference came during the final worship session. As I opened my eyes to glance at the screen to see the words, all I could see, instead, were the raised hands, closed eyes, and earnest cry of a child from our group right in front of me. It immediately brought me to tears to see this child, who normally does not express himself in worship this way, worshipping God through song with everything he had. He wasn’t concerned about what others were doing around him, and he didn’t care what he looked like to those around him. He did not overcomplicate the situation. He was fully submitted to the moment and simply focused on the One who is worthy of our praise. It was truly a beautiful moment–one that will likely be a memory forever etched in my mind.
I love this portion of Psalm 100 that describes what it means to honor God in this way:
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Worship is not limited to singing beautifully written words that sound poetic; it’s creating space to express to God the reverence, honor, praise, and adoration we have for Him. Whether it’s connecting with God in the silence of nature, penning beautiful words in a journal, or even singing with all you have in a crowd of thousands, God is the only one who is worthy of the best kind of worship we personally have to give. He is the only one who knows when our act of worship is genuine. Too often, I find myself over-complicating situations in my life, and if I’m not careful, I’ll allow myself to over-complicate what it means to simply worship God. I often find that I’m able to most deeply worship God through singing because I am connected to the music in a deeper way than my mind can understand. (PS: if you haven’t listened to the April 7th sermon, it would be a great way to hear more about this!)
One observation I’ve made in leading worship with children over the past few years is they don’t complicate or fake their worship. Sure, they will sing a song, play with the musical instruments in their class, or even raise their hands every once in a while. On Sunday mornings, though, they mostly are taking in the whole experience and processing it. They are learning songs and experiencing corporate worship in ways much like the rest of us on Sunday mornings–some are deeply connected to the music, some are distracted by other things going on in the room, and some are going through the motions. I’ve witnessed, though, as they continue to learn WHO God is, the desire in each of them to worship God continues to grow.
Seeing the pure, simple, honest worship of a child compels me to pause and turn my focus to praising God for what He’s still doing. It reminds me I need to step back and not complicate the process, and simply “worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God…his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
About the Author
Jill Dubois joined Commonway as the Children’s Pastor in 2012. She grew up in rural Wabash before venturing to Muncie where she studied elementary education at Ball State. Jill taught in a local school until she transitioned from the classroom to staying at home full-time with the birth of her first child. She finished her Masters Degree in elementary education just before starting this new adventure in children’s ministry. Jill and her husband, Kevin, live outside of Muncie with their three children.