Posted by Becky Drake on 23 February 2015

Becky Drake wonders aloud about how we can get everyone in the room.

There aren't many churches who would say that doing all-age worship is a breeze. In fact, many of us battle with trying to get the whole church singing together. How do we engage pre-schoolers in meaningful worship, while also keeping the teenagers interested? How do we balance meeting the needs of those who are desperate to worship with hymns, with those who are longing for louder, faster, more upbeat praise?

But we can all get so caught up on music styles and trying to please everyone that we miss the deeper questions. What is the reason we worship? What do we value? In our church we value encounter with God, adoration and intimacy. Regardless of age, that's the goal. Many of us have an 'adult' set of worship values, but abandon all of that when the children are present. Instead, we simply collapse into 10 minutes of incessant loud action songs, made only for the extrovert among us, leaving the other half exhausted; or, we revert to a few ancient classics that have worked for generations so we nervously cling to them and suffer the boredom until the children are safely in their church groups and we can 'really worship.'

No criticism intended. We've been there! And still slip back into old habits from time to time. But the vision of doing Worship For Everyone is to try and combat the tokenism that so often accompanies all age worship and aim to lead the whole church in face to face encounter with a living God. Sometimes that means an action song- ideally one that won't make a fool of the adults! And sometimes that means including some simple old hymns that are singable by everyone. But more than any specific song choice, or set of actions, it's an attitude and a commitment of the whole church to 'honour one another above themselves' (Romans 12 vs 13). We need to school the grown-ups to prefer the little ones above ourselves. We need to teach our children to honor the older ones in our midst. And we've got to shift our eyes to worship being something that we do 'together', where we learn from all the generations; where we realize that we're anaemic in our church body when some are missing, and where we bear with the odd style that doesn't work for us. Because in the end, there's nothing more glorious than a whole church messily singing along together, unified around Jesus. 

I know this probably presents more questions than answers! That's why we're holding our second Worship for Everyone conference at St Paul's in Hammersmith. We need each other to learn, motivate and inspire. We need everyone- and that's why children are invited too. Let's reclaim all age worship and make it truly work for everyone.

 

Connect With Nick & Becky Drake:

www.worshipforeveryone.com
www.facebook.com/worshipforeveryone

More like this

WeAreWorship USA Podcast #21: Sabbath...A day and A Disposition? - Tasha Layton-Smith

Have you ever ended your “Sabbath” day exhausted or far from refreshed? (This is especially true for those of us in vocational ministry!) Listen and be reminded of what Sabbath truly is. It is a day, as well as a disposition of the heart.

Paul Baloche on Marriage with Jim Mueller of Growthtrac

A conversation with one of the most prominent praise and worship songwriters of our generation, Paul Baloche *What is God telling you these days about worship?* We recently toured across India, Malaysia, Singapore, and China. How awesome it was to see thousands of people...

Rend Collective And The Power Of The Campfire

Four years ago we asked Rend Collective’s Chris Llewellyn what he thought the church in 2021 would sound like. What he said intrigued us...