Equipping Youth and Children to Be Worshippers

Equipping Youth and Children to Be Worshippers

Since March 2020, we have not been able to gather for worship some Sundays. Currently, as of February 2021, we are not able to gather for worship due to the Otaru City officials’ request for its citizens to refrain from going out except for school, clinic visits, or minimal grocery shopping to prevent further spreading of COVID-19. 

The deacons and I discussed over the phone how to conduct worship services for the Sundays when we cannot gather at our church building and decided to record the Scriptural reading, a sermon, and a pastoral prayer and broadcast it for those who could watch on the internet. Since there are also those who do not have any access to the internet in our congregation, we mailed the bulletins and sermon scripts to those members so they could worship on Sunday at the same time at home. 

At our church, the children’s group had just studied about worship in the children’s summer camp, so we asked them to take part in Scriptural readings for our worship videos. Their parents recorded their voices as they read the Bible, and we put that together with some captions. The deacons and I did not have enough knowledge or skills to do everything on our own, so we actively asked younger people in church to help us record sermons, add captions, and edit videos to put them on the internet. 

Though the number of children and youth are very few in our church, this change of approach enabled all of them to be involved to some degree in worship preparations. In addition, there were some unchurched people who have never been to our church who now watch the video and worship. They typically had some connections to our church and watch because someone they know was involved in the project.

Although we cannot see each other in person now, our prayer is that those youth and children inside and outside our church will become the worship leaders of the future. Their relatives near and far also enjoyed listening to the voices of their little ones reading the Bible.

Upon reflection, there are three factors that seemed to have contributed to the development of worship style changes at this transitional time.

  1. Our church has been focusing on and praying to minister to and educate youth and children to become good Christians. Their names appear on our monthly prayer calendar.
  2. Most youth were happy to be asked to help adults in the areas that they are good in, such as video editing on their smart phones. One youth I called and talked to for the first time, seeking advice in this area, makes a living broadcasting his own video programs on the internet.
  3. Connections to neighboring churches across city borders improved. As Otaru City issued a request to limit comings and goings, I as a commuting pastor from a neighboring city could not go into Otaru even for recording sermons. However, the mother church of our church happened to be outside Otaru, so they offered to provide their sanctuary for recording the sermon. A first-grade student at the age of seven recorded my most recent sermon there!

For Reflection and Discussion

  1. What steps have you taken or could you take to involve youth and children in your worship services?
  2. How could we overcome our cultural norms in order to bring children closer to God?
  3. What are electronic devices or apps you already have but are not familiar with? How could you enlist the help of the younger generation to learn more about this technology and how to use it for ministry?
  4. What is the history surrounding the birth of your church? Does your church take time each year to remember and recognize the history and intergenerational connections?
Religious Education of Children in the U.S.S.R.

Religious Education of Children in the U.S.S.R.

BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1925-02.1

56. Statements having been made by Drs. Franklin and Rushbrooke as to the position in Russia; agreed that Dr. Rushbrooke be instructed to prepare a resolution expressing support of his protest on the subject of the Russian Government’s attitude on the question of religious teaching of children. This resolution was formulated as follows:—

“That the Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance regrets and deplores the fact that the laws of the U.S.S.R. forbid the organized religious education of children under eighteen years of age, emphasises its conviction that such a prohibition is inconsistent with the religious freedom guaranteed under the constitution of the U.S.S.R., and earnestly trusts that this repressive legislation may at an early date be annulled.”

Keywords

BWA; Children; Education; Religious Freedom; Russia; U.S.S.R.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of Executive Committee, Held in the Del Prado Hotel, Chicago, U.S.A., on Wednesday and Thursday, 25th and 26th February, 1925. London: Baptist World Alliance, 1925.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Baptist World Alliance: Minutes of Executive Committee, Held in the Del Prado Hotel, Chicago, U.S.A., on Wednesday and Thursday, 25th and 26th February, 1925 (London: Baptist World Alliance, 1925), p. 13.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1925-02.1 Religious Education of Children in the U.S.S.R.; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA Executive Committee Resolution 1925-02.1).

Religious Education of Children in the U.S.S.R.

World Hunger

BWA General Council Resolution 1982.1

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Nairobi, Kenya:

2. Notes that October 16 is the anniversary date of the founding of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization has been declared World Food Day.

3. Supports the proposal of BWAid that October be set aside as World Hunger Month and agrees with the following contentions:

  • that food for every child’s growth and for lifelong health is a basic human right;
  • that the well-being of farms and farm families is vital to national and world progress;
  • that careful stewardship of the land and water resources on which food production depends is a global responsibility;
  • that all nations would work together to build a fail-proof system for world food security and world food justice;
  • urges the BWA member bodies to participate in this observance, not as a single day or single month event but to be aware of the responsibility we have to hungry people around the world every day of the year.

With 15-20 million people dying from the effects of hunger each year, 40,000 each day, 28 each minute (21 of them children), half the world’s population going to bed hungry every night, 1.2 billion people without pure water, 1.6 billion without effective medical care, 12.6 million refugees, we need to hear again Christ’s statement: “As you did it to one of the least of these…you did it to me.”

4. Pleads for massive support from our Unions/Conventions, churches and individuals to do all that is in our power in both relief and development to reverse this situation which is an insult to the Creator and a crushing indictment on us all.

Furthermore, to bring pressure on those governments in a position to help to see it as a major priority in their economic planning. It is our conviction that food for the hungry can never be seen as a political weapon.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Claas, Gerhard, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1982 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1982.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Gerhard Claas, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1982 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1982), p. 69.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1982.1 World Hunger; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1982.1).

Religious Education of Children in the U.S.S.R.

Health and Education

BWA General Council Resolution 1982.4

We hold the conviction that our ministry to people should be holistic, inclusive of the all important spiritual, and also of the physical and moral.

We acknowledge with joy the work of Baptist churches, associations, unions and mission bodies in ministries of health and education and would strongly encourage bold new ventures in poverty areas.

We encourage our peoples to coordinate their activities in the area of health with the work of the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund and other international agencies which are seeking to achieve “Health for All by the Year 2000.”

We appreciate the efforts of our peoples to expand literacy and educational programs and projects so that persons everywhere may be better informed citizens and have the opportunity to read the Word of God in their own language.

We are grateful for the development projects of Baptist World Aid, whereby the constituency of the BWA joins in practical ways to meet health and education needs in many countries. We are also grateful for the development work of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations University.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Claas, Gerhard, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1982 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1982.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Gerhard Claas, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1982 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1982), p. 71.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1982.4 Health and Education; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1982.4).

Religious Education of Children in the U.S.S.R.

Openness in the Soviet Union

BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1

Today we commend Christians in the Soviet Union, and especially Baptists, for their positive contributions, faithfully made in season and out, to their country’s morality, culture and history.

For many years the Baptist World Alliance has appealed to the government of the USSR to permit a larger measure of religious freedom for its people.

At this General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Nassau, the Bahamas, July 1988, we:

Acknowledge, with thanksgiving to God, a widening degree of openness afforded to all citizens by the government of the Soviet Union which has licensed the printing and importation of a substantial number of Bibles and religious books and permitted Baptists to take steps toward audiovisual production;

Commend this openness and express to fellow Baptists in the USSR heartfelt and prayerful support, especially as they move toward the realization of their long-sought vision for a seminary for those called of God to proclaim the Word both to believers and unbelievers in their homeland; and

Express the hope that this liberalizing spirit will continue to the realization of a new law about freedom of conscience for all citizens, thus facilitating the availability of Bibles, amnesty for all prisoners of conscience and the implementation of constitutional guarantees in the matters of ministry and religious training, especially for children and young people.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988), p. 68.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1 Openness in the Soviet Union; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1).