Our church has started a new tradition called Family Day. We meet together a few times a year on a Saturday, as a large family. During this meeting, our kids worship band leads worship and we try to create an environment of freedom so people can worship God without fear.
Last Saturday, we had our second family day. It started with yummy snacks in the cafe for the whole family. Coffee and muffins for the adults and juice and doughnuts for the kids. Next, we moved into the auditorium, where my husband Brian encouraged everyone to get out of their seats and participate with their kids in worship. We moved the chairs out of the front of the room, so people would have space to dance, jump, skip...whatever their little hearts desired.
The kids worship band led the worship and they were really amazing! Truly AMAZING!! (Don't tell them I said so, cause I'm trying so hard to encourage humility.) The kids band leads once a month in children's church and they always do a great job, but I know that leading in the big auditorium in front of a bunch of adults is intimidating. I know they must have been nervous, but they stayed on target and executed worship leading better than many adult praise bands I've seen.
The kids band played 2 fast songs and we put out long pieces of silky cloth on the floor for the little kids to use to dance and twirl. And they did. They had so much fun that they were crying when they had to put down their "flags." I wanted to provide a tool that would help kids engage and have fun and this seemed to work. I've noticed that the younger the kid, the more free they seem to be. Have you ever noticed that little kids are not worried about what is cool or socially acceptable? Then, the older a kid gets the more they are concerned with what people think about them. As adults, we naturally follow social norms and have a hard time breaking out of those norms, but little kids can worship God so freely because they do not know social norms. These kids are an example to us all. Love Jesus. Show Him through your actions that you love Him. Don't worry about what it looks like to others.
After the 2 fast songs, the kids band played a slow song "Wonderful" written by our friend Sammy Yoder. After a few minutes of this song, my husband Brian asked the crowd if they could feel Jesus in the room. The kids were quick to come to the mic and tell everyone about how they were seeing or feeling Jesus in the room. Kids see so clearly in the spirit realm because their minds have not developed filters of doubt and pain. One girl said that she saw Jesus in the room and He was looking at her. Another kid quickly told everyone what color Jesus' eyes were. Another kid talked about seeing angels.
We closed out the day with a spiritual father, Jim Banks, teaching us about blessing our kids. He said that statistically over 80% of our kids in the room will walk away from Jesus when they are older. Jim reminded us that kids will do what they see their parents doing when they grow up. If parents pray, kids will pray. If we worship, they will become worshipers. It was convicting to me because I suddenly realized there were things that I do on a regular basis that I don't want my kids to do. There are also things I'm not doing often enough that I would like for my kids to do when they are adults.
Jim asked everyone to look their kids in the eyes and bless them. He told us it was important to recognize who your kids really are and acknowledge that with your mouth. For example, I looked at my 3 year old son and said, "Judah, I am proud of you. You are a compassionate and loving boy. You are intelligent. You are a good son, a good brother, and a good friend." Remember that movie, The Help, where the maid encouraged the little girl by saying, "You is kind. You is smart. You is important"? It is vital that children hear their parents speaking good things into their lives. Model the life you want your children to live, then speak loving words into your kid's life. This is the most important steps in keeping your kid from being a statistic.
Family Day rocked! We will be doing this again and more often.