Our church believes in the membership of families. What does this mean? Apart from some of the more visible things such as a worship service filled with young children as well as adults, it means that we believe our children are part of the church, members of the community. The Scripture time and again gives commands for the church: worship the Lord your God and serve Him only, believe fully in the Person and work of Jesus Christ for your salvation, and seek to live lives of holiness out of a grateful heart to your God. As these commands are written to the church, we believe that they are written for the children, as well as the adults, of the congregation. And such means that it is vitally important for the family to model worship for their children from the youngest of ages.
Much of the modern church believes the children are not called to worship in the same way. Sure, they might learn simple bible stories or children’s songs, but to expect them to sit through service from a young age is too much for them. Yet God calls them as members of the congregation to come before Him each week to praise and worship Him. No “age of accountability” will be found in the Bible delineating when it is proper to bring them into the worship service or when they ought to obey this or that law. As covenant members, just as the rest of us, they are expected to worship.
This may seem like a daunting task to many. While children are expected to do this, practically, how can we? Children can’t sit still for that long. They are rowdy, unruly at times. They rebel. All these things remain true, and so we see in our children a chance for a picture of the gospel to emerge. Our Father in heaven looks down at us, and do we not act rowdy and unruly? Do we not rebel? In fact, our very nature was rebellious from the beginning. Our hearts were bent away from God. And yet God saved us still and sent His own Son to die for us. He had great patience for us and continues to have patience as we continue to sin against Him repeatedly. When we truly reckon with our sinfulness, we should be astounded by just how patient and loving our Father is. And so with our children, we attempt to model such love and guidance.
In our church, this naturally looks like them being in the service with us. They are not shuffled away to a kids’ service. Instead they are given a place in the congregation to be able to worship alongside everyone else. They witness and learn the ways in which we worship our glorious Triune God, our Savior and Redeemer. In the home, this means that we must endeavor to model worship as a family. We are not commanded to merely worship God once a week, but to offer or praise and adoration to Him daily. While the corporate worship on the Lord’s Day is something different and set apart as holy, coming together as a family gives children the foundation to begin to see what it means to worship God in our whole lives. For most in America, this is a foreign and perhaps daunting concept. But even simply reading a chapter of Scripture, singing a song or a hymn, and praying with the family each day begins to shape the thinking of children from a young age. Such may only take fifteen minutes. But when we get into habits like this, we begin to realize the truly important things in our lives. Jesus Christ is to be the center of our lives, and we ought to take joy in dwelling on Him and those things that He reveals to us in His word.
Our culture would rather us not do this. They’ll tell us it’s too much. They’ll tell us that kids are unable to sit still each day to do this. They’ll tell us we’re being “cultish” in our thinking. But why do they tell us this? Because they’d rather our kids come to their worship services and learn their catechisms. They’d rather indoctrinate them into their cult. “Cultus” is the Latin for ritual worship, and the modern word “cult” and “culture” come from it. The Romans understood that culture is based on what we worship, and ours would much rather us worship something else.
But we would have our kids worship Christ, the only Mediator between God and man. We would have our children’s children building churches in a world that is more and more singing praises to the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While modern America is offended because we refuse to worship her idols with her, let us instead say with Joshua, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”