Church’s young children take lead role in leading annual worship service

Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The worship services at Washington’s First Baptist Church will be a little different May 20. Children will be leading the 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.

Kids for Christ Sunday involves the church’s children from age 4 through the sixth grade. Kids for Christ Sunday, which began about 10 years ago, is fast becoming a tradition at the church. To be sure, the children will receive adult supervision as they prepare for and lead the two services. Heading up that supervision is Joy Stallings, minister of children and outreach.

“My point in doing Kids for Christ Sunday is so the church can see what the kids have been learning all year. We have Sunday school. We have Kids for Christ night on Sundays. It also gives a chance for the children to show what they’ve been learning throughout the year and so the congregation knows who are children are,” Stallings said. “If you’re a parent, you obviously know who the kids are, but the older generation may not know who all the kids are.”

The sixth-graders take the lead role on Kids for Christ Sunday, providing them an opportunity learn about leadership and what it takes to make a worship service happen, Stallings said.

“They get to see they can be part of worship, too. It’s not just the adults. It gives them something to look forward to; like my sixth-graders look forward to it. They know they’re the next group to lead worship. They have some ownership in it. It gives them a different view of worship and the work it takes to put into it and an attitude about worship. It’s not about us. It’s not about what we can get out of worship. … It’s about what we can bring to the table,” Stallings said.

This year, the fifth- and sixth-graders will perform a skit on Kids for Christ Sunday, which is a new addition to the annual event, Stallings noted.

Kids for Christ is the church’s year-round children’s ministry, which includes Children’s Church on Sunday mornings and Kids Konnect on Sunday evenings. Kids Konnect is an interactive time of learning, fun and games. It provides children a place to connect as their parents are involved in discipleship classes.

On Wednesday evenings, children are involved with children’s choirs, handbells and similar activities. Mission-education groups for children meet Wednesdays.

Children’s activities throughout the year include Vacation Bible School, on-site and off-site camps and special outings such as bowling, skating and movies.

The children incorporate what they learn from these activities into the worship services they lead.

Tina Houser, on the website, wrote about the affects children have when they lead worship services. “The benefits to the congregation are numerous! When children are included in worship leadership, they bring with them a certain enthusiasm and lightheartedness, and that’s something everybody needs to be reminded of. After all, the scriptures tell us, ‘The joy of the Lord is my strength.’ Children bring a smile, either to our faces or to our hearts, but really what they bring is strength,” she wrote in April 2014. “One of the most difficult things for anyone to do when they come into worship is to check their worries of everyday life at the door and give God their undivided attention. Children have a blessed way of breaking down barriers, refocusing our attention, and moving us physically into a more relaxed state. With that accomplished, everyone is definitely more ready to worship.”


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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