• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Wyketa Shipman
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Associate Pastor, Discipleship
  • Shannon Clark
    Administrative Assistant
  • James Parker
    Chief Musician
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Christine Betts
    Assistant Director, Youth/Families
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
    Youth/Children
  • Derrick Harris
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding & Young Families
  • Angela Sierk
    Director, Children's Ministry
  • Tyanna Holbrook
    Director, Nursery
  • Robert Blevins
    Director, Community Development
  • Janice Crowson
    Director, Facilities/Finance
  • Daniel Brown
    Print & Digital Media Specialist
  • General Contact
    For all other purposes
 
Contact Us Site Map
 

Glimpses of Worship Among our Children


Glimpses of Worship Among our Children

From the gummies to the grammies, God’s people are called forth to render the joyous praise due his name! Corporate worship is what we are talking about here in particular and it’s expression among our children on Sundays. God created us for worship and not only in the “here and now,” but for all eternity. As parents, we have the opportunity and privilege of helping mold and shape the next generations of Christ worshippers right here through Southwood; individually and corporately.

When our children are young, they value what we as parents value and emulate it. I can remember many years ago how my oldest, Wil, expressed how much he valued that which I spent my time and attention doing—painting houses. For a period of time just out of school, I was a painting contractor. What Wil became accustomed to was me coming home for dinner with clothing that revealed what color paint I was using that day. One evening, he looked up at me with eyes of admiration and told me that when he was grown up, he wanted to be a painter man just like me. It didn’t strike me then, but years later, I began to realize just how much value our children place in that which we place value with our time, attention and passion. Let me go back even further. As a young child, I attended worship with my family but was nothing more than a warm body in the pew. I couldn’t have cared less about what was going on in the service, in part because my parents were not really that engaged with worship either. Their approach and preparation for Sundays, or lack there of, helped set the stage for me (good or bad). Is it challenging to “set that stage?” You bet it can be. Will you blow it? Of course you will! Our sin and that of our children have the propensity to derail our attempts at Sunday worship at every turn. If you have kids, you know. The good news is that if you have experienced grace, you can model repentance and forgiveness and extend grace to our kids and further woo them to their heavenly Father in worship. And, part of the beauty here is that we don’t do this alone. We have been placed in a covenant community called Southwood in which baptism vows express themselves in a multitude of ways to assist parents in the “Christian nurture of their child.” Yes, it takes a village and thank God for that village!

So, what do kids and worship look like at Southwood on Sunday mornings? Let’s take a look:

Nursery

If you think Southwood’s nursery is just about child care while mom and dad worship, you only have half the picture. In our infant rooms, we teach systematic theology and Biblical languages (you’ve got to start young) … just kidding. For our infants, their worship is simple; experiencing the love of Christ through the care given by nursery workers and volunteers. The presence of Christ through our people and the familiarity of Bible songs begins to set the stage for knowing who God is and His love for them.

For our one year olds, it is not uncommon for parents to ask “what are you teaching on Sundays?” Why, because these children are beginning to recognize what the Bible is and that God made everything; including them. What joy to see such building blocks of faith presenting themselves in children at such an early age. Now for our two’s and three’s, music and Bible play a central part in their Sunday worship. Add to that a broader understanding of God what it means to glorify God and the Trinity (both presented through a series of questions and answers we call Children’s Catechism). All of these are progressively laying building blocks worship.

Kids Worship

During the sermon portion of both worship services, our PreK & Kindergarten children have the option of participating in Kids Worship, a special ministry environment designed just for them in #1305. The purpose of this time is two fold. 1) Help our children know more intimately their heavenly Father and his gracious love for them through Jesus Christ and 2) introduce basic elements of worship in age appropriate ways to help them engage in corporate worship now and when they get to stay for the whole worship service as 1st graders. In Kids Worship, they worship in song, prayer and hear from God’s Word through creative teaching and have the chance to get some wiggles out in a rather active environment. They are also learning how God’s grace is extended both near and far as we hear from and pray for those serving to advance God’s kingdom in Huntsville and around the world. Through this, they begin to understand that they are part of a worshipping community that finds itself present all over the world. With bodies that can’t contain themselves in the midst of joy, excitement and learning something new, you might think we’ve gone a little charismatic on occasion—and that is wonderful! It is wonderful because they are engaging in worship with “their whole selves.” Is everyone that way? No. But Kids Worship is an environment that helps them worship in an unencumbered way. Sometimes, I think we have much to learn from these small ones.

Glimpses of Kids in Worship

During communion at the 8:30am services this month, I saw a wonderful display of kids learning about communion from their parents in the midst of the sacrament being administered. Both of these parent’s girls were young and not yet communing members. But, each girl held the bread and cup prior to their parents partaking of them and listened as mom and dad quietly and simply explained what was taking place.

More and more, Southwood’s Children’s Ministry is attempting to use worship songs from “Big Church” in our children’s environments during the Sunday School hour. This helps our children become familiar with a worship song prior to singing it in the sanctuary helping them know it and participate more intentionally. Look around you on a Sunday morning and be encouraged by some of our younger brethren as they “make a joyful noise.”

Resources to Help

Not only do we produce worship bulletins for Sunday worship, we also provide a Kids Worship Guide that keys into the sermon. This is a fun, interactive and engaging way for upper and lower elementary children to attend to the sermon portion of the worship services. They decode messages, write about what they’ve learned and can draw a picture to illustrate what the sermon was about. Those sermon pictures are turned in at a table across from the elevator as submissions for a weekly winner. It is amazing how much our children are embracing through the worship services. It also helps parents know what their children are locking into and can follow up with after the service.

Depending on the age of your child, you can go our homepage and look at the upcoming Sunday’s worship bulletin and talk through some of the parts as preparation and anticipation for your children. Even reading the scripture ahead of time can help your child pay attention when he hears the familiar.

While our children don’t worship quite as we do, God is shaping and teaching them; molding them into vessels of grace and beacons of the same before their church, community and beyond.