Guest Post: Children as Worship Leaders

by Glenys Nellist

I did something in church this morning that I have never done before. I received communion from a fourth grader. It touched by heart. 

This is the body of Christ, broken for you,
he said shyly, as he carefully lifted the plate of bread towards me. 

I watched as he served his mom and dad, his little brother, his grandma, his friends, and their parents. Occasionally he looked up to the pastor just to make sure he was doing everything right. He was.

This ten year old boy- who could just as well have been at home playing video games- had already led us in the opening prayer; given out certificates to new members; welcomed them with a hand shake; read the passage of scripture from the Bible he was presented with in third grade, and helped the pastor prepare the elements for communion. 

And as he took his place at this altar, next to candles, and choirs, and bread, and wine, where sermons have been preached for years and years, and babies have been baptized, and people have knelt before Christ-  I couldn't help but wonder how experiences like this would help to shape this young man's life, and to kindle a sense of the sacred in his soul.

And I couldn't help but wonder, as he held his third grade Bible and read, 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God....
if he knew that he was talking about himself.

How does your church intentionally engage children in leading worship?

This was originally published here and was reposted with permission.

Book Review: A Homemade Year by Jersualem Greer

Friend of LECFamily Jerusalem Greer has released a great church and family Christian resource, A Homemade Year. We allowed another friend of LECFamily, Monique McBride, to review the book. Check it out!

by Rev. Monique McBride

Have you ever read a book and heard your own story in the words? Though you’d never met the author, you knew without a doubt she could be your “bosom friend?” Once upon a time, there was a woman who loved writing, crafting, cooking and Jesus. 

To her surprise, God blessed her to be the mother of two boys and called her in to ministry. I could be talking about myself or the author of A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together, my newfound bosom friend and Episcopal twin Jerusalem Jackson Greer

A mixture of family recipes, beautiful liturgical crafts and heartfelt stories, this book is sure to speak to your soul and remind you of days past and the traditions you hold dear. If you long to make life special for your family and friends in simple yet significant ways and share the rich traditions of the Christian liturgical holidays, Jerusalem’s words, ideas and simple country style are sure to bring a smile to your face and ideas to your Pinterest boards. 

Somewhere between The Pioneer Woman and Kathleen Norris, Greer’s honest words are just as lovely and meaningful as the everyday memories she creates for her family through her crafts and homemade meals. Woven between kitschy country craft instructions and family recipes that make your tummy rumble, her words tell the story of a woman who longs to make life meaningful and spirit-filled for those around her. 

Far from a craft manual or list of recipes, Greer opens her heart, home, and her own faith journey as a woman, wife and mother. With each chapter and season, she invites us into the story of scripture through the warm welcome of the Christian calendar and various interpretations of the liturgical holidays around the world. 

Whether you want to bring to life the little known liturgical celebrations of St. Lucy’s Day and Pentecost or your soul is in need of a friendly and honest companion who will teach you how to make Brown Sugar Lemon Apple Pie in a mug, this book is sure to please. 

You can purchase A Homemade Year on Amazon.com, and if you use this link it will donate a portion of your purchase to LECFamily!

Thanks to Monique McBride for the review, and for Jerusalem for this great resource for churches and families! This won't be the last you'll hear from Jerusalem - look for some guest posts here on our blog from her in the near future!

Guest Post: A Glimpse into Godly Play

by Glenys Nellist

I am sitting in a circle of children listening to the storyteller. She tells the story slowly, her eyes downward, focused on twelve little wooden characters as she moves them up the mountain. There is a lot of silence. The children listen. They watch, and they wonder. Wondering is a very real part of this environment, where biblical stories are retold, but not explained, and little minds are at work, making meaning out of mystery.

And as the storyteller asks the questions, the children know they do not have to answer ....because these are just things to ponder. There are no prizes to be earned for the correct response, no popcorn to be won, no gimmicks to entice involvement. Only the wondering...

I wonder how the twelve disciples feel being called to be with Jesus?

I wonder what they said when they told the news of the Kingdom of God?

I wonder how the people felt when they heard it?

And into the space and silence, a little boy ventures a one word response...

Happy

Mmm.. I wonder why they would feel happy? asks the storyteller.

Maybe because it's good news, he says, smiling.

And now it is my turn to wonder....how does he know that? How does one so young know that the kingdom of God is good news? 
Unless, of course, the kingdom belongs to him?

And just like the upside down teachings of Jesus-  we who plan, and prepare our lessons so diligently, we who hold our 'learning objectives' like a measuring rod in our minds.....
must remember that when we set out to teach our children, it's actually they who end up teaching us. It is they who understand kingdom concepts better than we, even if they cannot put it into words. 

And as a teacher, surely this is what I must strive towards-  to nurture that spirituality already present within the child; to value the pondering, the wondering, the space created by silence, and trust that God is at work in ways that can never be measured. 

This is a hard approach for me, because it requires that I change.

But I know that in the upside down kingdom, I must change and become like a little child, in order to let the child teach me.

Learn about Godly Play

This post originally appeared here and was reposted with permission.