This past Sunday was a great service. We were celebrating the end of VBS and welcoming new members. It was the most fun I’ve had on a non-preaching day in a long time. We had over 200 people crammed into the room (usually more like 100, and the Fire Marshall likes 180 max). About 50-60 were kids from VBS. We had them leading most of the liturgy – and they even wrote some of the prayers. They all helped lead the music, pulled from the 10 or so we learned all week together.
Here’s what was the coolest… the youngest worshippers among completely set the tone. They were so free and authentic in their worship that it became contagious!
For the “Gathering Music” (prelude-ish) we started with This Little Light of Mine. I stood in front of the chancel and asked the kids to pull out those little candles and “light ‘em up”. This was one of those loopy thing I said all week to get them to take the chosen “pointer candle” rub against their hearts and light it with the love of Christ. As I started the first verse, the little Kindergarten group raised up their fingers and came walking down the aisle to join me. Pretty soon there was a Mosh Pit full of my young friends singing and holding their lights up high. When we repeated the first verse, the whole congregation joined in.
The Call to Worship was read by a 1st grader – Ps 98:4 from the King James Version (since that’s where we’re told it’s not just joyful, it’s a LOUD noise). We sang Happy Song and Peace Like A River, confessed together and rejoiced by dancing with our Father God in Fields of Grace. By this time, there were about 40-50 kids down on the floor, ready for the children’s event, with some of the older ones shouting out answers from their seats.
After El Jefe’s sermon we received 10 new members (including 3 baptisms which provides a story for another day), and we ended with about 75-80% of the congregation standing, clapping and even raising their hands above their heads during the final praise song!! Can I remind you at this point we’re talking about a Presbyterian church?? We were raising the roof decently and in order!
As the traffic cop/music director for the day, it was great to see my vision come to fruition. I wanted the children to be involved in leading the service in meaningful ways (not performing) and to see that the things they learn in VBS aren’t just something fun that week. By using songs from our usual play list along with some fun old camps songs & hymns, we were able to incorporate the music into a meaningful time of worship for everyone – kids, volunteers, and the folks who weren’t involved. We incorporated the Scriptures they learned into the readings and liturgy for the day, reinforcing the relevance of the Word in our lives individually and corporately.
Having children excited about coming back next week, having parents excited about having their children seated next to them, having the “grandparents” of the church excited about seeing the children involved- it’s what being a church family is all about!