I Believe: A service on the Apostles' Creed led by children

Each week I have twenty minutes to sing with the children in church school before they go to their classes. This year's theme was the Apostles' Creed. I divided the creed into nine "articles" and chose songs relating to each of them. The "articles" were taught at appropriate times during the Christian year. At the end of the year, they were incorporated into the following program, which was part of a worship service. The children's comments expanded on the statement in the creed; the congregational responses were taken from the Contemporary Testimony Our World Belongs to God, (found in the worship edition of the Psalter Hymnal, p. 1019).

Most of the songs were taken from the children's hymnal Songs for LiFE. (Both the Psalter Hymnal and Songs for LiFE are available from CRC Publications, 1-800-333-8300.) The children's part of the service was forty-five minutes long. There were no "dead spots," since the accompanist played softly while the children spoke and stopped playing during the congregational responses. The final song, "Amen," brought more "Amens" from the people's hearts and applause from their hands. What a thrill it is to be teaching God's children!

Note: You may want to include an introductory note about the Apostles' Creed in the bulletin or worship program:

From the beginning of the early church, Christians have needed a handy way to express their faith. The Apostles' Creed, which can be traced as far back as the second and third centuries, is used by believers as a summary of their faith. Although some suppose that the creed was written by the apostles themselves, there is no evidence to support this idea. It is, however, an accurate summary of the apostles' teachings—teachings on which the church is founded. Tonight, we will sing and say with Christians throughout the centuries what we believe.

THE APOSTLES'CREED IN SONG

Song: "I Believe in God" SFL 73

Congregation: In the beginning, God—Father, Word and Spirit—
called this world into being out of nothing,
and gave it shape and order.

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: I believe in God, the Father
almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Children: I believe that God made the world, the sky, the stars, the animals, and all the people in the world.

Songs

"My God Is So Great" SFL 35
"The Earth Is the Lord's" (Make Way—Public Praise, Graham Kendrick, Make Way Music/Kingsway Music. Also in RW 39:22.)

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only
Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.

Children: I believe that God's Son, Jesus, came into the world from heaven. That's what we remember on Christmas.

Congregation: God remembered his promise to reconcile the world to himself; he has come among us in Jesus Christ, the eternal Word made flesh.

He is the long-awaited Savior, fully human and fully divine, conceived by the Spirit of God and born of the virgin Mary.

Songs

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" SFL 223
"That Boy-Child of Mary" SFL 130

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to hell.

Children:I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, for all the wrong things I do.

Songs

"What Wondrous Love Is This" SFL 169
"Were You There," stanza 3 SFL 167

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: The third day he rose again from the dead.

Junior Choir: Part of the Plan SFL 164

Children: But three days after he died, he came alive again.

Song: "This Is the Day," stanza 2 SFL 3

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: He ascended to heaven.

Children: He went into heaven, and now he is with his heavenly Father again.

Song: "Clap Your Hands," stanza 2SFL ,79

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: He is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.

Children: I believe that someday he is going to come back to the world and I will see him.

Songs

"Our God Reigns" PsH 195
"Soon and Very Soon" SFL 194

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: I believe in the Holy Spirit.

Children:I believe in the Holy Spirit, who is God, and lives inside me when Jesus is my Savior.

Congregation: Jesus stays with us in the Spirit, who renews our hearts, moves us to faith, leads us in the truth, stands by us in our need, and makes our obedience fresh and vibrant.

Songs

"The Spirit of the Lord" SFL 187
"If You Believe and I Believe" SFL 242

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints.

Children: I believe that God loves the people in our church and that he wants me to love them too.

Songs

"We Are the Church" SFL 236
"Children of the Lord" SFL 238

Leader: We say together what we believe:

Congregation: I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

Children: I believe that God forgives me all the wrong things I do because Jesus died for me.

Songs

"Lead Me, Guide Me" SFL 220

Children: But God doesn't want me to keep doing what is wrong and sinful.

Junior Choir: "Discipleship" SFL 233

Leader: We say together what we believe: Congregation: I believe in the resurrection of the
body.

Children: I believe that someday I will live on a new earth with God forever with my brand-new body!

Song: "I Will Sing unto the Lord" SFL 105

Leader: We say together what we believe: Congregation: And the life everlasting. Children: I love you, Jesus, because you loved me first!

Song: "This Is How We Know" SFL 202

Congregation: Our hope for a new earth is not tied to what humans can do, for we believe that one day every challenge to God's rule and every resistance to his will shall be crushed. Then his kingdom shall come fully, and our Lord shall rule forever. Amen!

Song:"Amen" PsH 3645, PH 299

[We used a male soloist on the stanzas, with everyone on the Amens.]

Marcia Palmbos is a member of Beaverdam Christian Reformed Church, Hudsonville, Michigan, where she plays the organ and also leads the music time in church school for children from age three through fourth grade.