Mine and Ben's most recent Sundays of "Worship Care" at our church have been with the 4-year-olds. When we do this our job is to herd the 9 or so children down the hall, up the stairs, and into the front pew just before the service begins at 10:30. We then attempt to facilitate their participation in the first 20 minutes of the service by leading them in sitting or standing or praying or singing, while also preventing them from sitting or standing or praying or talking at the wrong times. This is quite a task for us--a young, childless couple--but I imagine it's difficult for anybody.
Several Sundays I have come home frustrated about this. Not that I don't want to serve in my church or be with children--I love our church, serving my brothers and sisters, and you know I love little ones! But on these Sundays I feel like I'm responsible for something that I am entirely UNABLE to do. How can I, in about 20 minutes, teach the 9 four-year-olds how be reverent, or the much greater goal, teach them to love the worship of God?
Well, I just read this--Noel Piper on teaching young children to be engaged in corporate worship, including the preaching.
Even though I know the necessary training and discipline and consistency for this to happen is HARD, I think it's Biblical and oh so beneficial for the SOULS of our children. I hope that one day our church doesn't even need a 4-year-old "worship care" class!