Let’s Not Use the P-word
Sadie Wohlfahrt, Children’s Minister
April 10, 2018
There are few phrases in ministry that really bake my cake as much as the word “performing.” It just flies all over me.
Let’s clear this up: children don’t perform in worship.
Children can sing in worship.
Children can present in worship.
Children can serve in worship.
Children can lead in worship. (A particular favorite of mine, of course.)
But they don’t perform.
Why do I care about the p-word so much? To begin with, the use of the word “performance” further perpetuates the idea that children are a commodity of the church; something to be used and dispensed, in order to enhance the experience of “real” worshippers (aka adults). If you’ve ever heard something like “When is the children’s choir going to perform in our traditional worship again? It’s so cute!” then you know what I am talking about.
But to take it a step further, children don’t perform in worship to the extent that no one performs in worship. We are not a circus.
There isn’t a stage of worship-producers, and the congregation isn’t a passive audience of worship-consumers. If we think of any part of it as performance, we’ve gotten it all wrong. Worship is a gathering-together of God’s people, to collectively praise God.
Yes- some of us serve in certain roles by planning worship themes and outlines, by singing or leading in song, by reading scripture or interpreting it, by offering stories or witness, by serving the elements, or by collecting gifts. But that doesn’t make those servants any more important than any other servant in the body of Christ.
And guess what? Kids can do every one of those things, too. Let’s not relegate them to a sideshow.