Recently I started to talk about Sunday morning sermons with the children during dinner time. Such practice was born out of a desire to see whether the children are listening on Sunday mornings. The kids sit with us during the service because we want them to participate in the life of the church, central to which is our Sunday worship gathering. However, I don’t want my children to be mere chair-warmers. I want them to be fully engaged as much as possible. To start, we encourage them to be active participants. When we sing, we encourage them to sing. All the lyrics are provided in the weekly bulletin as well on a big screen. Even if they don’t know the melody, they can simply read the words out loud. When the congregation recite the Scriptures and the confessions, I encourage the children to follow along as well. When we listen to the sermon, they are to sit quietly and engage their minds as much as possible. When we partake in the Lord’s Supper, they are to sit and observe with reverence.
When we sit down for dinner in the evenings, I ask the kids very simple questions such as:
- What was one thing you learned from the sermon?
- What was one thing you remembered about the sermon, whether it’s big or small, important or trivial?
- What was one thing you thought was interesting?
The point isn’t to make it difficult for them. I start off easy, hopefully to open up a discussion. When no discussion ensues, we ask specifics. They usually get into the discussion by then and are interested. It may seem our discussions are long and complicated. They are not. They vary from few minutes to 15 minutes. I treasure these moments because we get to see what the kids hear and understand. It’s also an opportunity for us to talk about the spiritual truths in the sermons. Most of our kids are as yet too young to grasp more than a couple of highlights, but I hope in the coming years to see them ask questions (and not just answer ours) in response to what they see and hear in corporate worship!