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June 1995

Kids in Worship: Fifteen churches report what they're doing

The elderly gentleman was adamant. Including a children's message in the worship service, he said, distracted other worshipers from focusing on God.

An equally elderly gentleman leaned forward to emphasize his disagreement. He said he was thrilled to see that finally the lambs as well as the sheep were being fed at the worship service.

A mother added her viewpoint. She said that she sometimes got more out of the children's message than the sermon.

Standing on the Lord's Side: A drama about Joshua, Caleb, and the other spies (Numbers 13,14; Joshua 7,24)


Child, sitting with storyteller
Moses: a very old man
Ten other spies (one spokesperson)
Crowd 1, with three spokespersons (for scene 1 the crowd could be the entire church school or the entire congregation)
The Voice of God

Resurrection Church, Flint, Michigan


"Resurrection RCA doesn't have a lot of baggage in the way of traditional expectations for worship services," admits Pastor Paul "Bud" Pratt. "So we have been free to develop our ministry based on the needs we see. And our ministry to the family has been very intentional."

On homilies, hymn changes, and communion tables

Q I attended a Lutheran church, and there they call the sermon a "homily." How does a homily differ from a sermon?

Worship is...: What children say about "Children and Worship"

Children who take part in the Children and Worship program know what worship is all about. They say worship is "telling God you love him," "showing God how much you love him," "praying to God," "singing songs," "learning about God," "believing in God and talking about it," and "giving things to someone special."

Can you imagine adults defining worship more aptly?

Notebook: Singing with Understanding

Michael Burkhardt. St. Louis, Missouri: Concordia Publishing House, 1994. Publication no. 99-1433, $39.95

Introducing Songs for LiFE: A new hymnal and worship education program

Have you noticed the new "kid on the block," or, more accurately, the new hymnal reference in all the service resources in this issue of RW? Those of you who check out the fine print for the sources of songs used in the various services and drama, will notice a new set of letters. SFL stands for Songs for LiFE, a new children's hymnal just published by CRC Publications. A leader's edition is scheduled for release this summer.

Booklet: A Young Person's Guide to the Pipe Organ

Text by Sandra Soderlund, drawings by Catherine Fischer. New York: American Guild of Organists, 1994. 24 pp., $12.00. Available from AGO Headquarters, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1260, New York, NY 10115; (212) 870-2310; fax (212) 870-2163.

Cultivating Faith: Godparents in the Reformed tradition?

Though it has faded in importance over the last few decades, the godparent relationship has had a long and distinguished history in the church. Traditionally chosen by the parents of a child and present at baptism, godparents played a number of roles in the life of a baptized child. Sometimes they even assumed the parental role when the parents were unable to for some reason. Perhaps most important, godparents were responsible with the parents to insure that a child received the proper spiritual training.

Book: Hymn Stories for Children: Special Days and Holidays

Phyllis Vos Wezeman and Anna L. Liechty. Grand Rapids: Kregel Resources, 1994. 72 pp., $7.99.

The authors have taken a very simple approach to teaching children the backgrounds to thirty hymns. The hymns themselves are not included; rather, two pages are devoted to each hymn story, including a craft idea to prepare ahead or to involve children in a class or home activity.

Kids of the Kingdom: Four services with a focus on children

Reformed covenantal theology and the sacrament of baptism both say that children are an integral part of the church. But our words and actions often communicate quite the opposite. In a variety of ways the church tells its younger members, "Grow up and then you'll count!"

Book: Forbid Them Not: Involving Children in Sunday Worship

Carolyn C. Brown. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993. $19.95. Based on the Revised Common Lectionary. Three volumes, for Years A, B, and C.

Whether or not your congregation follows the lec-tionary, your worship planning team—and congregation—will benefit greatly from these excellent ideas for involving children in congregational worship. Each Sunday of the Christian Year is given three pages of creative and helpful suggestions.

Prayers for Thanksgiving Day: Four prayers to use in your Thanksgiving Day worship


Psalm 65

[Response (in bold) sung by the congregation, using the tune KREMSER PsH 237, PH 559, RL 62, TH 97]

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion; and to you shall vows be performed.

We praise you, O God, our Redeemer, Creator; in grateful devotion our tribute we bring,



There is still time to register for COLAM 95, the Conference on Liturgy and Music scheduled for the week of July 17, 1995, at Calvin College. A brochure was inserted in Reformed Worship 35. If you need more copies or more information, see the phone and address information in the list of conferences. Remember that this is a family conference, with activities planned for children and adults.


Book: Leading Children in Worship

Helene G. Zwyghuizen. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994. 221 pages. $13.99.

Book: Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship

Robbie Castleman. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993. 125 pp., $7.99.

I know about the difference between worship B.C. and worship a.d. As Robbie Castleman explains it, that's worship "before children" and worship "after diapers." For parents and their children the church experience can be a seemingly endless hour of whispered commands and coloring books. Or it can be the most intimate moments of sharing an awareness of God's presence.

Joining Hands in Service: A commissioning service

Summer vacations are over. Ministries are finding their feet again after an extended break. The hands of God's people are readied to take up the callings and tasks that he has prepared for them.

Book: Sharing Faith with Children: Rethinking the Children's Sermon

Sara Covin Juengst. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1994. 116 pp., $11.99.

In her book Sharing Faith with Children, Sara Juengst addresses a dilemma many pastors face—whether or not to include a children's sermon in the worship service. After outlining the problem in chapter one, she moves into a description of the context of the children's sermon—the worship setting—in chapter two.

Ven Will I Zing?': What makes music special--and who decides?

Ven will I zing?"

It wasn't a request. The voice over the phone—disembodied, since neither Ray nor his wife, Claire, had ever met the manóasked the question baldly. Whether he was capable of singing had apparently never entered his mind.

"Babble at Babel" and More: Reviews of several children's musicals

Every spring the children in Bethany's Youth Choir have something to look forward to. They know that this year, like last year and the years before, they will have the opportunity to lead an evening worship service. Through singing, acting, costumes, and lights, they will bring a part of Scripture to life for the congregation.

Teaching Children the Songs of the Church

an interview with Michael Burkhardt and Cora Scholz

Will All the Children Please Come Forward?': Uses and abuses of the children's sermon

Preaching to children is nothing new. It's been | happening—in one form or another—as long as children have been part of the church. Even some of the older sermons in print include occasional invitations to the "boys and girls" to listen carefully because this is "especially for you." And as early as the 1800s publishers found a market for collections of children's sermons.