Interview With a Preschool Pastor {OR Can Preschoolers Worship?}

kids church

{my husband and me leading worship to 100 three and four year olds!}

Remember about 100 years ago when I went to the Orange conference? Well, my favorite breakout session during the conference was by Cass Brannan. He’s a preschool pastor in Tuscaloossa, AL and I originally met him online when his family was doing Truth in the Tinsel!

During his session, I tweeted almost every single point he made. (He said he saw it because he had instant updates on his iPad which is what he was leading the session from! Ha! Sorry about that!) And the session topic? How To Lead Worship for Preschoolers. This isn’t just how to stand up and sing songs with 3 and 4 year olds. This is how to lead preschool kids into real worship of their Heavenly Father.

Oooh, it gets me excited just typing those words!

As I was thinking about recapping his class, I figured I could write his class word-for-word or just copy the notes from his blog. But I thought it would be more fun to let him tell us about it himself! So, I asked for an interview!

Ready to meet Cass, the Preschool Guy?

(Cass & his adorable family)

In your session at Orange, Worship for Preschoolers, you talked about how preschoolers need a place to worship like preschoolers. Can you tell us more about that?

Cass: I have this feeling that if we can teach preschoolers to worship, at it’s very basic state, then we begin setting a great foundation for them to understand worship and become better worshippers as they get older.

Part of that is by giving them a space/place to worship. Adults have the worship center, sanctuary, or whatever you want to call it, the student ministry typically has somewhere for their worship gatherings, and many children’s ministries have the same. SO, we, as church leaders, need to create a place for preschoolers to worship as well.

What I have found is that by creating a place for them to come to, they know what to expect when they get there!!! They know that they will sing, hear the Bible story, learn the Bible verse, and pray!!! We are setting the foundation for their worship!!! It needs to be somewhere they can sing, move, pray, and possibly be a little loud, just like a preschooler should!

My thing is, create a place that is consistent where your preschoolers will know that they are going to worship: just like their mommies and daddies!!!

In your class, I love that you break down the word “worship” into 4 different categories: giving, prayer, music and Bible reading/teaching. I know these elements are in a typical Sunday morning program at church, but how can parents teach their kids to worship this way at home?

Cass: Let me break down each of these words for what you can do at home… (and this is by no means ALL that you could do) Also, each of these is done by having your preschooler watch you do it!!! If you do not give, pray, worship, and have time in the Bible yourself, then your preschoolers won’t either!!!

GIVING: If parents want to teach their preschoolers to give, then the preschoolers better see the parents giving. Parents need to set a pattern of teaching their preschoolers what it looks to tithe, to give an offering, and also to give of time!!! A simple way to do this is by having different jars where when your preschooler receives some money they place different amounts in each jar. But, don’t just let the money sit there…GIVE IT!!! It is also important that parents teach their preschoolers why they give…because it’s out of obedience to what God has told us!!!

PRAYER: I would encourage parents to just spend time daily with their preschooler praying with and for them. The boxed prayers are fine, but we also need to teach our preschoolers to use their own words to talk to God. Teach them that it is about having a conversation with God. And let your preschoolers hear you pray too!!! Teach them that they can pray anytime, anywhere, and about anything!!!

MUSIC: I think that the big thing with music is to be careful what you, as a parent, are listening too!!! Create opportunities in the car and in your home, where your preschoolers are hearing music that teaches them Scripture, helps them understand who God is, and helps give them a closer look at Jesus!!! Preschoolers love music, just make sure that the words and the message of what they are listening to is going to bring them closer to Jesus, rather than further away!!!

BIBLE READING/TEACHING: Use the Bible not just as story time at the end of your day. I think that is great way to end the day with your preschoolers, but I also think that the Bible needs to be used throughout the rest of the day. Use it to correct your preschooler. Use it to discipline your preschooler. And use it to encourage and teach your preschooler. Let your preschoolers see how the Word of God governs your decisions, your thoughts, and why you live the way that you live.

I feel like I could expand on all of these, but ultimately it is about being intentional with your preschoolers and also with yourself, to give them a BIGGER view of worship and what it is all about!

How do you see the church and parents working together to raise kids for the Lord?

Cass: It has to be a partnership!!! I think it comes to a point where the parents realize they can’t fully do it without the church, and the church coming to the point where they realize they can’t fully do it without the parents!!! BUT, by working together they can make a greater impact on preschoolers than they could ever make alone!!!

Parents need to throw away the thought that the church is the place where the spiritual development with happen. And the church needs to challenge parents more with the responsibility to spiritually raise their children!

There are events, resources and meetings that can take place to help in this process, but ultimately it comes down to an understanding that the church and the family need to work together to give preschoolers a foundation that will, one day, lead them to having a relationship with Jesus!!!

What are you favorite parenting resources?

BOOKS

Visionary Parenting by: Rob Rienow
His Needs, Her Needs for Parents by: Willard Harley, Jr.
Grace Based Parenting by: Tim Kimmel
Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas
Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by: Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof
Shelter by: Jimmy Holbrook

BLOGS
Impress Your Kids (note from Amanda: aw, shucks!)
Epic Parent
Orange Parents
The Inclusive Church

CD’s
Anything from Amber Sky Records – great resource, great music!!!
Seeds Family Worship– learn Scripture put to music.
The Rizers – learn Scripture put to music.
Yancy

As a Preschool Pastor in the local church, what’s one thing you’d love for the parents in your church to know? (We’ll pretend you are our kids’ pastor and take it directly to heart!!)

Cass: To boil it down to one thing is definitely hard to do, but I would say that if there was one thing that I wanted ALL my parents to know is this:

You have more influence on your preschooler than anyone else!!! Begin influencing NOW by setting the foundation of Jesus in their lives. Don’t, for one minute, think that just because they are preschoolers that you can wait to begin laying this foundation. Set it now and make the greatest impact! Your preschooler will thank you later!!!

(Amanda’s note: Cass has a whole series on this: What I Wish Every Preschooler Knew!)

:: :: ::

Thank you, Cass! I get excited listening to him speak with such passion, don’t you? The more I’m around the church and ministry, especially family ministry, the more I think preschool is where it’s at!

Please go visit Cass at his blog! He’s got lots of great series & ideas that he uses with his own church and his own 3 preschool boys at home. You will be encouraged & inspired by him! Oh, leave him a comment here, too? Pretty please?

Cass is first and foremost a follower of Christ. He is the husband of one, Mary Beth;
the daddy to three amazing boys: Caden, Calder and Bates. He is also a preschool minister in the local Church. He loves investing and helping lay the foundation in preschoolers lives and partnering with the parents as they go through the journey of parenting.

bible craft

 

Comments

  1. Love it! Thanks for the great resource list and thoughts.

  2. Okay – so, 1. I have so missed reading your posts and am doing a happy dance right now to have my Mac back! And 2. This interview made my heart so happy! Hit me right in the “sweet spot” of passion and family. Thank you for sharing, sweetie!

  3. One of my favorite people interviewing one of my favorite preschool leaders. I could just GUSH all over this post.

    Seriously, I hope you both know how much you are influencing the Kingdom. Tears to my eyes amazing is what you both are. So blessed God is using you to glorify Him.

  4. I LOVE this! LOVE! I’ve been so heavy-hearted lately about ministering to my kids. I’m really restless about their church experience. Really yearning to create an environment at home fosters learning. I’ve been lazy & assumed that church was taking care of that part of their heart.

    Excited to add some of Cass’s reading suggestions to my list!

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