Greetings from Tete, Mozambique! The McGukins and I have had an amazing trip. I cannot wait to tell you more about it in next week’s Tidings. By the time you read this, we will most likely be on an airplane crossing the Atlantic returning home. Be in prayer for us as we readjust to the time change. I have had a great time working with the Nalls the past two weeks, but I’m ready to be back in worship with you this Sunday.
 
Although every time we gather together to worship our Lord and Savior is special, I’m especially excited about this Sunday. It will be a promotion Sunday of sorts for many of our children in the worship service. Going forward, we will be offering more opportunities for our graded-level children to participate during our worship service. That time may be a message for children, a family dedication, children singing, or a similar activity that highlights the importance of our children being in worship. This Sunday, we’ll be recognizing our children’s presence in worship and presenting them with their own personal Bible on behalf of Tabernacle Baptist Church. It should be a wonderful time for us to share together as we celebrate the nurturing of young faith.
 
As you read in James’ article from last week, intergenerational worship is very important and as a congregation we are trying to intentionally consider how we train each other to be selfless worshippers. Some of you have heard, we are no longer offering “Children’s Worship” for our graded-level children. The decision came after many prayerful discussions by ministers, Children’s Ministry workers, Children’s Council, and parents. Children from Grades 2 and up will be in worship each week. We will have worship bags available to aid parents as they teach their children to participate. As a congregant, you can help us make these young ones feel welcome. I expect that everyone will go out of their way to make sure that no parent feels self-conscious if their child makes an unexpected noise.
 
Personally, I feel strongly that our children need to experience worshipping alongside the body of Christ. I was six-years old when I accepted Christ and received baptism. My decision to follow Christ was directly related to my participation in the worship service since the age of four. I saw my brothers baptized, sat and listened to the sermon (at my mother’s behest, I might add), and fondly remember standing next to my father learning to sing from those old hymnals. How will our children learn that worship is about worshipping the God of the universe and not about appealing to our own desires and preferences? It comes from worshipping alongside one another. It is by letting them see what we as the church do best – proclaiming in one unified voice that Jesus is Lord and Savior of all. 
 
I look forward to formally welcoming the children to worship this Sunday.
 
Expecting His Best,
 
Stephen V. Allen
Senior Pastor