How can a pastor prepare his children for the worship service on Sunday?

At our church, we encourage our parents to spend the week preparing their children for the public gathering on Sunday.  We do so by giving them the passage that will be preached the next Sunday, and sometimes a mid-week email with more details about the sermon and the content of the service to provide more guidance. 

Through this being our aim for every family in our church, I have realized there exists a special opportunity for the pastor to prepare his family for Sunday services.  The pastor has a more detailed knowledge about the content of the upcoming services and most importantly…the sermon, than anyone else in the church.  He is the one preaching.  He is typically the one planning services.   I try to use this unique opportunity to prepare my family for worship in these few specific ways:

 1)  Family Worship always includes in some way the reading of the passage that I will preach so we can begin discussions about it with my children that carry throughout the week.  Because I have the unique knowledge of the direction of my sermon, I am able to lead the discussion in such a way that prepares them to hear the Word preached on Sunday.

2)  As I individually read and pray with each of my children throughout the week (See this previous post), I also get to dialogue with them as individuals about the passage I am preaching and can ask probing questions that fit their specific maturity as they look forward to sitting under the preached Word on Sunday.

3)  Because I eventually know what songs will be sung, I find it helpful, especially with young children who cannot yet read well, to sing a song or two in family worship throughout the week that will be sung on that upcoming Lord’s Day.  My children seem to sing more confidently and have a greater sense of participation when Sunday comes.

Pastors, we have the gift of this knowledge because of the role we play.  Whether you heed my suggestions or not, please take full advantage in some way of the unique position you have to better prepare your family to gather with the church on Sunday.  Your family will feel more cared for and you will be setting an excellent example to the husbands and fathers in your congregation who seek to follow your example…as they should and will.

Posted in Discipleship, Home and Family, Preaching
2 comments on “How can a pastor prepare his children for the worship service on Sunday?
  1. Stewart says:

    Very helpful advice….any advice on how you went from a culture that sees kids as a burden and in need of “Children’s Church”, separate from the others to a more integrated approach where children are expected to be able to hear sermons? This is something I believe many pastors have to deal with.

    • briancroft says:

      I found it most helpful to not force your convictions on others. We had children’s church when I first got here and we did it for years and we tried to do it well. As parents grew in confidence that they could prepare their kids for the service, we slowly saw parents keeping kids in the service more and at younger ages. We finally reached a point where parents didn’t want to send their kids out of the service anymore and that caused us to eventually stop children’s church. If there are parents who want it and it is something the church has offered for many years, you should continue to do it and not expect any fast change.

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