Wait, I thought we were Baptists, not Roman Catholic.
“Liturgy” literally means “public work,” or “the work of the people.” It refers to what a congregation does when they gather. That means every church has a liturgy. Even the church that says they don’t have a liturgy has a liturgy. You will be pleased to know that we have thought a lot about our liturgy at Kahului Baptist Church. But what does this have to do with family ministry and the Kid’s Sunday Bulletin?
See the bottom of this blog for a sample picture of the Kid’s Sunday Bulletin.
The first section on our Kid’s Sunday Bulletin is the “Order of Service” checklist. This checklist isn’t there merely to give your kids something to do. It is for you, as the parent, to “re-present” the gospel to your children, as they are not only taught the gospel explicitly through the sermon but implicitly through the order of the service. It is a “re-presentation”*, or a re-telling, of the gospel story.
We’ll start out by singing a song centered on God and an aspect of his glorious character (Song of Adoration). We’ll sing and pray about our sin, specific sins, our inability to please God on our own, and our deserving of God’s just punishment (Song of Confession). Then we will be ready to joyfully sing and pray about all that God has accomplished at the cross of Christ, where Jesus stood under God’s wrath as our substitute to satisfy God’s justice, and was raised for our justification to bring us to God (Song of Grace). Then we will respond to the Word of God in songs and prayers of obedience, repentance and faith, surrendering our lives to Jesus, taking up our crosses, and, with renewed zeal, to live and proclaim the gospel (Song of Response and Sending Song).
Do you see how you can use this checklist as another opportunity for you to share the gospel with your child? The checklist is also there to help you disciple your children, showing them that the gospel is not merely what saves you, but informs all we do as believers, even how we worship God on Sundays.
The Sermon Notes section along with questions about the sermon, songs, and general questions about the service, are all to encourage you to dialogue with your children during the sermon and after the service. This, of course, implies that your children remain in service with you.
We want to encourage and train our children to remain in the service every Sunday morning. Regrettably, our culture has reacted to both the potential for children to be a “distraction” and “noisy” and the children not relating to the sermon by separating them from the rest of the gathering. Understanding that there are circumstances that make having your children in the service difficult, may it never be because we give the impression that we do not want children in service. The exact opposite is true.
We praise God whenever we see (and hear) children in our service, yes, even during the sermon. We invite the “noisiness” and “distraction” and will encourage you (mom, dad, grandparents) when you keep your children in service because we want them to hear the preaching of the Word that can save and sanctify them. We want them to see the Body of Christ preferring one another, loving one another, praying with one another, crying with one another, rejoicing with one another, repenting of sin and then clinging to Jesus for dear life together because that’s what life with God looks like. We want them hearing our voices as we sing to the God who is worthy of all praise, as well as theirs. How are they going to know how to live a life that honors God if they don’t see it because they’re pushed to another room? How are they going to know that the local church is the very life-line of a believer if they don’t experience it first hand?
Again, we understand that there may be unique challenges for each family that make keeping your children in service more or less difficult. My family puts our youngest daughter in Children’s Church during the sermon. However, that is not an end in itself. Working toward keeping them in the service is the key. Lord willing, this Kid’s Sunday Bulletin will help.
While we want to train our children to remain in service, we understand the reality of our children’s attention span. We want to praise and affirm our children when they are able to listen and engage with the sermon for any amount of time. We included a coloring page to keep their attention for the rest of the time, at least until we begin singing again. If the coloring page finds its way onto the coveted refrigerator door, then we hope it will help you start spiritual conversations at home with your children or with guests you have over to your house as you show hospitality to your neighbors.
Don’t you love it when children ask “why?” We don’t really enjoy when children ask that question because either we don’t have a good answer or we’ve run out of answers. We pray we’ve given you some good answers.
But what will you say when they ask you why, on some Sundays, we sing with a band and on others with the organ? Why are some Sundays led with a band, some Sundays led with the organ, and some Sundays the band plays for half the service and the organ for the other half?
When we prefer one another, when we count others more significant than ourselves, and when we look out for the interest of others when we have different musical preferences than they do, we are allowing the gospel to shape our worship of God (see Philippians 2:1-4). We can point our children to this tangible act of worship that allows us to die to our interests and lays them down in service to those we love dearly, those for whom Jesus died on the cross for.
We have so many opportunities to point our children to the gospel on Sunday morning. We’ve produced the Kid’s Sunday Bulletin to equip you to point your children to the gospel that they can see and hear in the Sunday gathering.
* Bryan Chapell, Christ-Centered Worship: Letting the Gospel Shape Our Practice (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic), 99-100.