Childish Worshipers

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childishCharacter is qualities or features that make us all distinct; the outward manifestation of our inward nature, personality and moral compass. It is an attitude that indicates to others who we are and what we stand for. Character is not innate; it must be learned and practiced or it is easily forgotten.

Children could help a worshiping congregation relearn some of those character traits that seem to flow so freely and unashamedly from them. So as congregations consider various options for worship renewal, maybe some of the following childish worship characteristics should be on that list.

Wonder Worship should cause us to be curious, be fascinated, be surprised and be captivated. Children radiate these characteristics, we seldom do. Wide-eyed spontaneous worship wonder has been replaced by controlled worship golf-claps. We are no longer wowed, amazed or awed. As adults we have transformed the mystery of God into a scheduled event that is explainable and rational.

CooperationChildren learn early that always expecting to get your way, being a bully, not resolving conflict with kind words, not considering the needs of others and not seeing things from another’s point of view are not an option. Taking turns, playing fair and sharing are often set aside when the worship practices of a congregation begin or don’t begin to move in a new direction.

Tolerance Children seem to have a higher capacity to accept the differences in others. They learn intolerance from us. Churches need to invert that practice. Worship intolerance is manifested musically and stylistically as well as religiously, racially and culturally. Worship tolerance does not mandate us to compromise biblically, theologically or doctrinally but often asks us to accommodate culturally, contextually and systematically.

Resilience Resilience is that childhood elasticity allowing them to recover quickly from radical change. It is the willingness to give things a try with an attitude of flexibility. Worship resilience averts relational and theological catastrophe through a culture of pliability. Resilient worshipers don’t get bent out of shape when the worship changes or stays the same.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

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