Posted by Becky Drake on 23 February 2015

Becky Drake wonders aloud about how we can get everyone in the room.

There aren't many churches who would say that doing all-age worship is a breeze. In fact, many of us battle with trying to get the whole church singing together. How do we engage pre-schoolers in meaningful worship, while also keeping the teenagers interested? How do we balance meeting the needs of those who are desperate to worship with hymns, with those who are longing for louder, faster, more upbeat praise?

But we can all get so caught up on music styles and trying to please everyone that we miss the deeper questions. What is the reason we worship? What do we value? In our church we value encounter with God, adoration and intimacy. Regardless of age, that's the goal. Many of us have an 'adult' set of worship values, but abandon all of that when the children are present. Instead, we simply collapse into 10 minutes of incessant loud action songs, made only for the extrovert among us, leaving the other half exhausted; or, we revert to a few ancient classics that have worked for generations so we nervously cling to them and suffer the boredom until the children are safely in their church groups and we can 'really worship.'

No criticism intended. We've been there! And still slip back into old habits from time to time. But the vision of doing Worship For Everyone is to try and combat the tokenism that so often accompanies all age worship and aim to lead the whole church in face to face encounter with a living God. Sometimes that means an action song- ideally one that won't make a fool of the adults! And sometimes that means including some simple old hymns that are singable by everyone. But more than any specific song choice, or set of actions, it's an attitude and a commitment of the whole church to 'honour one another above themselves' (Romans 12 vs 13). We need to school the grown-ups to prefer the little ones above ourselves. We need to teach our children to honour the older ones in our midst. And we've got to shift our eyes to worship being something that we do 'together', where we learn from all the generations; where we realise that we're anaemic in our church body when some are missing, and where we bear with the odd style that doesn't work for us. Because in the end, there's nothing more glorious that a whole church messily singing along together, unified around Jesus. 

I know this probably presents more questions than answers! That's why we're holding our second Worship for Everyone conference at St Paul's in Hammersmith. We need each other to learn, motivate and inspire. We need everyone- and that's why children are invited too. Let's reclaim all age worship and make it truly work for everyone.

www.worshipforeveryone.com
www.facebook.com/worshipforeveryone
For conference info. click here http://bit.ly/1FOVlbr

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