What is Worship?
by Elizabeth Griggs
For many, it is easy to hear words in a church service and in our everyday language without knowing what they mean. Children could tend to lean into this mentality, which then leads to adults who don’t really know what these words mean that they’ve heard their entire lives, but there is always excitement when we get to learn the meaning of a new word! In this series, we will be looking at Scripture and how the writers defined worship.
The word “worship” holds a deeper meaning than standing in church and singing songs. Many people link it to that practice, but singing songs is only a small part of living a life of Christian worship. As Sunday school teachers, it’s our job to assist parents in their child’s walk with the Lord. Helping children understand the meaning of this word will lead to a deeper understanding of the relationship God longs for His people to have with Him. So, what is worship, and how will understanding this practice help in a child’s faith journey?
Worship is the act of admiring God’s deeds and character, and then focusing on His goodness by giving our greatest praise to him. This will result in living a life consecrated to Him by reflecting His holy character.
Before your lesson starts, grab some aluminum foil, and some flat items, such as paper plates. You will use these later to make a mirror with the children. It may be helpful to bring in a real mirror as well. Ask the children to look in the mirror and tell the class what they see. Help them use descriptive words such as, “I see a boy who has brown hair, a blue shirt on, and freckles on his nose”, and so on. Let each child have a turn describing what they look like that day. As the children finish this task, ask them in what ways they look like their parents. Does their mother have brown hair? What about her eye color? Match the features of a child with their family. They reflect their family. When people see them, they see a connection back to a sibling or a parent. Help the children in your class make this connection by sharing a personal story of a time you were compared to someone in your family. This is similar to how worship is supposed to work.
Worship is the act of admiring God’s deeds and character, and then focusing on His goodness by giving our greatest praise to him.
In Romans 12 verses 1-2, Paul writes: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul wrote this after reminding the Romans of the love God bestows on those He calls His own. Talk with your students about what it means to be a living sacrifice—to die to yourself and live for God. This is the right attitude behind authentic worship. Tell your students, “When you see who God is and the amazing things He’s done for you, you can reflect Him in your life. That’s what it means to worship God.” Remind the children that this is not something they can do on their own. When they believe in Jesus as Savior, God the Holy Spirit changes their hearts so they want to worship God and to be more like God. Ask your students how they can reflect God in their lives. Once they have had time to answer, direct your class to the Scripture verses again, and ask what Paul tells the Romans to do. Help them come to the conclusion that they should offer their lives as an act of worship, that they should live differently than the world, because they choose to follow God. God the Holy Spirit can give them the power and desire to do this. You might ask your older kids for some examples of things that are good, true, and beautiful that you can do to reflect God in their lives. This can look like being careful about what movies they watch, the music they listen to, the books they read, and even the words they say, or the thoughts they have. They could invite a lonely classmate to play with them or let others go before them in line. Remind them that God calls His children to be examples for others.
Talk with your students about what it means to be a living sacrifice—to die to yourself and live for God.
Transition from this into the craft. Ask the children what they see when you hold the shiny side of the aluminum in front of them. Have the class make their own mirror using the supplies provided. Have them write “Romans 12:1-2” on the top to remind them of the lesson. Tell the children that, just like their features make people think of their family members, Christians are called to live a life that reflects who God is. We should be reminding others of God through the way we act. When we worship Him with our lives—our thoughts, attitudes, actions, and words—we should point people to God. Paul encouraged Christians to live a life wholly pleasing to God, and we are called to live in the same way. Challenge your students throughout the upcoming week to ask the Holy Spirit to help them point people back to God in everything they do. Remind them that true worship points people to God as we live a life that reflects His love and compassion.
Items for the craft:
- Aluminum foil
- Flat surface item to wrap around (a paper plate would work)
- Item to create a handle for the mirror (paper towel roll)
- Permanent marker
- Have the children wrap the foil around the rounded object, shiny side out
- Tape the back of the foil to avoid losing it
- Cut small slits in the tube to slide the makeshift mirror onto the handle
- Tape mirror to handle
- Write Romans 12:1-2 on the top of the mirror
Now you’re ready to SING!
If you need song ideas, you can find visual aids, CDs, and music downloads at CEF Press.