Our role as parents is to steward our children— we don’t own them. They are gifts from God, entrusted to us to steward on His behalf. Our goal in stewarding our children is for them to grow as stewards of the relationships in their own life— their relationship with God, with themselves, with others and with creation. 

Our primary work is to help our children develop the first and most important of these relationships— their relationship with their Creator and eternal Parent. One of the best ways we can do this is by teaching our children how to worship.

Life in this world is very hard

They’ll soon learn (if they haven’t already given all of 2020) that life in this world is very hard. As they grow up they will experience the distortion and dysfunction caused by a world consumed with personal kingdom building— a world that sets us against our neighbors and breaks relationships. 

They will experience the results of an increasingly self-centered culture looking to everything but God in a fruitless pursuit for meaning. They will learn what it is to be used and abused by others, disappointed by things that promise fulfillment and happiness, and discouraged by trying to navigate their way in a society that is morally and spiritually adrift.  

In the midst of all that awaits our children, we can give to them a most precious gift— we can teach them to worship the one true God.

Why is worship so important?

Worship is more than singing songs corporately in church on Sunday morning— worship is anything that magnifies and glorifies God in our hearts and to those around us.

Worship centers us on God. It anchors us to true reality in the middle of the swirling currents of this fallen world. Our kids need that kind of rock-solid security if they’re going to hold fast to Christ through all this world will throw at them.

Worship has a way of lifting our eyes to see beyond the present. It reconnects us with God and recognizes his lordship in every area of our life. It reassures us of his presence and reminds us that all of our work is meaningful. It causes us to look for His hand in all we do, to expect good to come out of evil, to believe in miracles and to not lose sight of our goal (Philippians 3:24). It also keeps in front of us that this life we live is not our own, that it has been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and therefore we render our lives in service back to God. 

Our kids need that kind of rock-solid security if they’re going to hold fast to Christ through all this world will throw at them.

All of this and more is recreated in us every time we worship. Here are three ways you can teach your children to worship:

Teach them to worship anytime, anywhere

Begin by helping them see God’s presence everywhere. Help your children take worship out of the church building and find it in moments of everyday life. Help them see God’s goodness at work in nature, at school, in your home and in their quiet time. 

Show them what it means to practice God’s presence and love throughout the day and let that cultivate in them a heart of thankfulness. How can you nurture in your children the sweetness of worship that comes to those who are able to be present with Jesus wherever they are?

Teach them to worship as image-bearers

Second, teach them to love the way God made them. God created us in His image— when we love ourselves, we honor and worship the One who made us. 

We bless our children when we help them ground their self-image in the truth that they are a child of God, created by Him, in His image, and for his glory. 

When we love ourselves as God’s creation, we not only worship the One who created us, but we reject all the false alternative identities the world forces upon us. How can you help your children worship by truly loving who they are and praising the One who created them? 

Teach them to worship by giving

Finally, cultivate in your children a spirit of generosity. Introduce them to the joy of giving. Show it to them through your own generous spirit. Let them experience the truth that “God loves a cheerful giver” by being a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). 

Teach them that every time we act generously we engage in holy worship. As they learn to be generous, help them connect that we most perfectly reflect the image of God when we give— after all, God so loved the world that He gave (John 3:16).

Be creative, be bold and be sincere. Give your kids the greatest gift they will receive as a follower of Jesus. Teach them to worship.