Messy Reminders of God’s Faithfulness—

“Look at this mess.”  That thought often crosses my mind at the conclusion of the benediction as I survey the floor and pews around me.  On any given Sunday you may find ripped up bulletins, paper-airplane care cards, books, drawings, markers, the occasional spilled water, and maybe even pen marks on the pew Several families, including mine, sit in this section of the sanctuary, so there are a lot of children squished tightly into the pews trying to sit by each other. During the services the parents are regularly navigating all the fidgeting, crying, annoying of siblings, and the not-so-quiet whisper of “When is it over?” Even from the stage, if I am preaching or leading liturgy, I can hear the steady murmur of noise and movement from all those children in our section of the sanctuary.

There are many others in our church who see our section and also think, “Look at this mess,” but with a smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. They hear the noise and see us cleaning up the aftermath and rejoice because they are witnessing God’s incredible promises to them and the next generations right in front of them. These children are a picture of God’s faithfulness.

When we share the worship service alongside children, it is indeed messier, but the benefits and the blessings are deeper. I want to share two examples of ways I am blessed by sharing the worship service with the children of our church.

A Reminder to Be Present in God’s Presence

“Let the children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

Often during the service our minds might be racing, our hearts heavy, and our lives anxious and restless. We may be physically in the actual service, but we may not be actively present. The many distractions and discouragements of our world bombard our hearts and minds.

Suddenly, you catch the eyes of a child staring right at you with those big wonder-filled eyes and you are suddenly struck at how filled with interest this child is in your singing praises to God. Or a child begins to uninhibitedly dance in the aisle out of love for, and you wonder what it would be like to worship with that much joy. Or a child sings so loud, and maybe a little out of tune, that you smile and are just a little less concerned with how your voice sounds to your pew neighbor. Or a child whispers to his parents, “Why do we do that?” during the Lord’s Supper or during a part of the liturgy, and you wonder to yourself, “Yeah, that’s a good question, why do we do that?” Worshipping alongside children can often be an encouraging reminder to us to strive to be present as we enter God’s presence in the worship service.

A Reminder of Our Place in God’s Family

For the LORD is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100:5).Worshipping alongside children is also a reminder of the corporate nature of God’s promises. Children are a picture of our “togetherness” as God’s family. They are reminders of how we are connected locally, globally, and historically as God’s people.


We vow as a congregation to “undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture” of the child during baptism and then have the privilege of being involved in God’s redeeming work in this child’s life as they grow and mature. It is a sweet blessing when that child grows, and goes off to college or adulthood, and then return to find themselves surrounded by people who love them and desire to hear about their lives simply because they are part of God’s family.


I love considering how across the world in all kinds of tongues, tribes, and nations, God’s people—old and young—are gathering together to worship, pray, and hear from His Word. It is fun to tell our children that truth and have them wonderfully consider how they are connected to God’s family all over the world.


I am blessed whenever I see the children of our church participating in our worship services because they are a picture of God’s incredible goodness, mighty power, and steadfast faithfulness. Throughout the history of His people, in times of hardships and hopelessness, God has remained faithful and passed the Faith on to the next generations. And incredibly, God has called and empowered us as His family to play an important role in the passing on of the Faith— even when it’s messy.

Justin Huensch is serving as the Pastor of Next Generation Ministries at Chesterfield Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, MO. He is passionate about reaching the next generations with the amazing grace of God, the relational connection of the body of Christ, and the purposeful calling of the gospel in their lives. Justin and his wife Emily have three wonderful children.