Understanding the different parts of a worship service can be confusing for any young child. One minute everyone is singing loudly, the next everyone is sitting and listening quietly. Sometimes the adults know something that should be said out loud, like, “Thanks be to God!” How did they know what to say? What is communion all about? And why does the pastor raise his hands and pray at the end of the service?
Using the vision of Isaiah 6, God Made Me for Worship by Jared Kennedy focuses on teaching kids about the key liturgical movements in a worship gathering, including the call to worship, praise and adoration, confession, assurance and passing the peace, ministry of the Word and sacraments, and benediction and sending.
This bright and colorful children’s book illustrated by Trish Mahoney celebrates how God reveals himself to his people in the movements of worship. All the parts of worship tell the story of the gospel, and since Jesus is the object of our worship, his story of redemption gives shape to our worship.
The author guides parents to help their kids understand why we’re intentional about worship, encouraging them to engage—not just to manage behavior during a worship gathering, and invites children to respond to God along with the whole church body.
God Made Me for Worship is part of the God Made Me series which equips parents to have important, impactful conversations with their children, helping them to grow in understanding of God, themselves, and others. Each book in the series contains a special section just for parents and caregivers that provides biblical guidance and offers additional information and resources for talking about the topic addressed in the story.
Jared Kennedy, MDiv, ThM, leads the children's ministry creative team as Pastor of Families at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY, and is the children's ministry strategist for Harbor Network. He is the author of The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible and Are You Close to God?; the coauthor of The Leadership Mosiac; and has developed two VBS programs, Proof Pirates and Clap Your Hands, Stomp Your Feet. He and his wife, Megan, have three girls, Rachael, Lucy, and Elisabeth.
Trish Mahoney is a graphic designer and illustrator in Seattle where she runs The Mahoney Studio with her husband, Patrick, also a designer and illustrator. They have two children, both budding artists too. Trish is the illustrator for the God Made Me series and The Beginner's Gospel Story Bible.
“Parents and grandparents who want to help children understand and enjoy corporate worship will be very grateful to Jared Kennedy for producing this book. In a delightfully simple and engaging way it answers hard questions about what we do when we gather together as God’s people. You could read and discuss this book together many times to unpack the biblical and pastoral wisdom it contains.”
David G. Peterson, Moore College, Sydney, Australia; author of Engaging with God and Encountering God Together
“This book is a creative way for parents to talk with their children about what we do when we gather in worship. Reading this book together in the family room or at the bedside can help prompt a child to ask, and answer, on Sunday, ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘What are we doing?’ as well as, most importantly, ‘Whose are we?’”
Russell Moore, President, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
“The weekly habit of taking our children to church is one of the greatest blessings we can offer them. Church invites our children to a larger family of faith and provides a home away from home—a place to belong wherever they may go. Most importantly, the church teaches our children who and how to worship. God Made Me for Worship is a wonderful way to help children understand how all the elements of worship share the gospel story.”
Melissa Kruger, Director of Women’s Initiatives for The Gospel Coalition; author of Walking with God in the Season of Motherhood
“Jared Kennedy walks us through the gospel narrative that is enshrined in the different parts of the worship service, helping children—and adults as well—not only understand what worship is but what the gospel is. I’m thankful for this very helpful primer.”
Iain M. Duguid, Professor of Old Testament; dean of Online Learning, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA
“Jared Kennedy has given us a great resource for churches and families to use with children. God Made Me for Worship is a wonderful way to introduce children to the biblical concepts of congregational worship. This is a much-needed book to help our children understand and participate as the church gathers for worship.”
Greg Brewton, Department Chair of Biblical Worship, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
“Parents shouldn’t assume their kids understand what is going on during their Sunday worship service. Through God Made Me for Worship, Jared Kennedy provides parents with an excellent tool they can use to help their kids understand church. It explains the components of a Sunday liturgy and connects them to the gospel story. Every Christian parent should add God Made Me for Worship to their family bookshelf.”
Marty Machowski, Pastor; author of The Ology, God Made Boys and Girls, Long Story Short, and other gospel-centered resources for church and home
“I wish I had been able to read God Made Me for Worship to my children when they were younger. What a biblical, clear, and engaging explanation of the different dimensions of Christian worship! Many parents will also be edified and reminded of the basics when they read this book to their children.”
Robert L. Plummer, Collin and Eveyln Aikman Professor of Biblical Studies; chair of New Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
“Jared Kennedy gets kids, and he has a firm grip on how to connect families to church life and liturgy. He brings keen pastoral and practitioner instincts as well as a distinctive writing style that sparks with clarity. My recommendation remains simple: If Jared is writing for kids and families, then it’s worth the time of any parent to read it.”
Dave Harvey, President of the Great Commission Collective; author of When Sinners Say I Do and I Still Do: Growing Closer and Stronger Through Life’s Defining Moments
“In the car when our kids were little, they’d ask, ‘What’s that sign say?’ And sometimes, the answer would eventually lead our car where the sign had pointed—for ice cream or pizza. In God Made Me for Worship, Jared Kennedy explains what worship services are all about and how they’re actually signs pointing to the gospel. With pictures and a story that children will love, Kennedy looks at church and answers the question: ‘What does that sign say?’ And points all of us to the feast the Lord has spread.”
Champ Thornton, Associate Pastor at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, DE; author of The Radical Book for Kids
“From the moment I opened this book I could not stop smiling. What a gift this is to each of us who has the joy-filled responsibility of teaching the next generation the centrality of the worship of God. This book will help children and adults alike come to a clearer understanding of the beauty and role of corporate worship in the Christian life.”
Matt Boswell, Hymn writer; pastor, The Trails Church; assistant professor of Church Music and Worship, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“It is statistically proven that kids engaging in worship with their families is one of the most impactful things that can happen in their faith as they grow up. Now, thanks to Jared Kennedy and his book God Made Me for Worship, kids, parents, and children's ministry practitioners have a beautiful roadmap to shared language and mutual understanding for the why’s, how’s, and what’s of worship. This book is a gift to kids and the adults who love them and desire to see them know and love Jesus and his church.”
Mallory Hammond, Director of Kids and Families, Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN
“Jared Kennedy has provided families with another great resource in God Made Me for Worship. I love the positive portrayal of a pastor with children of the church and the robust view of corporate worship communicated clearly for children. Get this book for your families and children’s ministry workers!”
Ray Van Neste, Dean, School of Theology and Missions, Union University, Jackson, TN
“Corporate worship is God's gift to remind, encourage, grow, and send his people in the good news of Jesus. But public worship can be a confusing time for children (and adults!). Walking through Isaiah 6, Jared Kennedy offers a beautiful, simple, and helpful explanation of church worship to children and their parents.”
Eric Schumacher, Pastor; hymn writer at Hymnicity; coauthor of Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women
“In God Made Me for Worship, Jared Kennedy does a great job of establishing a child-friendly foundation for biblical community. It helps the reader understand why we do what we do in church. This resource is a tremendous tool for parents, ministry leaders, and anyone who seeks to invest in the next generation for the sake of the gospel.”
Jeff Dalrymple, Executive Director, Evangelical Council for Abuse Prevention
“God Made Me for Worship is an inviting, fun, and straightforward explanation of why we do what we do in corporate worship services. Children and parents will learn how each element of a church’s weekly service is specially designed to draw us to God in worship and demonstrate some aspect of the gospel message.”
Curtis Solomon, Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition
“God Made Me for Worship is a great gift to parents who have perhaps never thought deeply about the different aspects of their weekly worship services, much less how to explain them to their children. Jared Kennedy has provided a biblically based and gospel-centered explanation of many different liturgical elements that parents will want to refer to when bringing their kids with them to worship.”
John Murchison, Managing Director of The Austin Stone Institute
“God Made Me to Worship is gospel centered and delightful. It teaches children the various aspects of worship by taking the mystery out of corporate worship and replacing it with a better understanding. This book will help kids comprehend all elements of corporate worship and will teach them to worship God in all aspects of their lives.”
Rochell Goff, Director of Children’s Programming, Crossings Ministries, Louisville, KY
“Worship can seem weird—especially for kids and parents who are new to the church. That’s a blind spot for many church leaders. This little book helps make sense of the wonderful traditions that give structure to our worship of God. The simple explanations and beautiful illustrations bring much-needed clarity to how and why we gather each week. This would be a perfect gift to include in any membership onboarding or child dedication process.”
Tony Kummer, Founder and Editor of Ministry-To-Children
“Jared Kennedy and illustrator Trish Mahoney have winsomely, wisely, and pastorally made accessible the essential gospel contour of weekly worship for children and their parents. In a Christian culture overly fascinated with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the corporate gathering, this delightful children’s book beautifully shares the essential ‘why’ we worship in an engaging and thoroughly biblical way.”
Joe Crider, Dean, School of Church Music and Worship, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX
“This book is a practical and engaging tool for parents to explain the dynamics of corporate worship to their children, regardless of denominational context. Breaking down the rhythms of adoration, renewal, and commitment within our weekly liturgy into bite-sized pieces sows powerful seeds for deeper understanding and application in young hearts. I’m excited to use this resource with my own family!”
Jared Crabtree, Associate Pastor of Families, Redeemer Fellowship, Kansas City, MO
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Jared Kennedy has written a picture book that efficiently explains the “why” of a worship service to children. As adults, we may not even really think about why we do what we do at church, but this does such a wonderful job of unpacking the different parts of the service, why we do them, and how they point to Jesus. Besides in your home, this would be an excellent tool to use in a Children’s Ministry setting. For all my reviews, check out GoodBookMom.com.
God Made Me for Worship is a terrific book that helps explains the corporate worship experience to children. It is scripture based and is written in an easy to understand manner. Colorful, engaging illustrations enhance the text. This book would be a terrific tool to assist a child who is transitioning into attending “Big Church”. While this complimentary book was provided for review by New Growth Press, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinion.
This new volume in the “God Made Me” series helps young children to understand the purpose of church and what happens when we are there. Young readers are introduced to parts of a worship service: the call to worship, praise and adoration, confession and lament, assurance, welcome (or passing the peace), ministry of the word (reading and preaching the bible), communion, giving, and the benediction. Variations between this expression and your church’s own would be easy to explain (eg. in our church no-one shouts out “That’s right! Amen!” during the preaching). And, of course, whether you have all these elements in your own church service will reflect your own churchmanship. Frankly, if some key parts are missing in your church, even parents should start to ask why. All of these are explained through the lens of the gospel, showing how what Christ has done for us is reflected in a worship service. My guess is, that this is a step many of us miss when we explain church to our children, for we may not have fully grasped it ourselves. It’s very helpful. A slightly fuller review can be found at: https://musingsinadelaide.blogspot.com/2020/12/god-made-me-for-worship.html
God Made Me for Worship is a terrific book that helps explains the corporate worship experience to children. It is scripture based and is written in an easy to understand manner. Colorful, engaging illustrations enhance the text. This book would be a terrific tool to assist a child in transition While this complimentary book was provided for review by New Growth Press, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinion.
This book intrigues me-- it's been a theme that I've invested in, researched, taught, created handouts for families, shared with elementary-age children, and created a "little church" for our children out of the nursery but not yet ready to sit for a 75-90 minute Big Church service. While I do not attend a 'liturgical' church, I appreciate rhythms, routines, and practices. Many spiritual practices are rooted in clarity and are simple, easily understood techniques to help all people, but they are repeated so they really benefit those still learning- our children. Jared Kennedy is a favorite author of mine has created the Beginner's Gospel Storybook Bible with 52 biblical events developed for our youngest learners. He gets kids. He really gets little kids, his books have questions built-in, and he expects the child/ren to answer out loud, making it so easy to build these versions of the Bible events into preschool/pre-K Sunday school. I do not yet own this physical book, but New Growth Press has a Youtube video of the author reading the book aloud, and I was hooked. So I asked to review it, and was shared a pdf version. Before I review this book, I think it's helpful to read the note from the author on the first page of the book for parents or caregivers, it explains the intent. Dear Parent or Caregiver, I wrote this book to give you a way to introduce your children to public worship. When you think of explaining a worship service, you might say something like this: “First, we sing. Then, we listen to the sermon.” But most worship gatherings involve more than music and preaching. When the church gathers, we follow a rhythm—or liturgy—of call and response. It’s like a big game of follow the leader. We hear God speak and then we move in response to him. Maybe you’ve noticed this rhythmic back and forth in your own church’s gatherings. First, you hear God’s Word call to you—perhaps in what we describe literally as the “call to worship”—but then also in words of blessing or assurance and finally in the sermon’s words of instruction. Then, after you hear from God’s Word, you respond by lifting your voice in song, greeting others, giving, or by shouting, “Amen!” We repeat this back and forth every week when we come to church, just as Christians have for hundreds of years. During the Reformation, John Calvin saw a need to help the church rehearse gospel rhythms when it gathered for worship.1 His liturgy followed three movements: • Adoration—Drawn from Isaiah 6, this rhythm reveals God as holy and calls upon sinners to respond with a cry for mercy. • Renewal—Rooted in the burning bush story of Exodus 3, this rhythm begins with reading and teaching God’s Word then calls for a response of reverence and humility. • Commitment—This rhythm, based in Luke 24, involves seeing Christ’s glory and participating in it as we gather around the table for communion. God Made Me for Worship walks kids through each of these rhythms. My goal is that they’ll see and learn how all the parts of worship work together to tell the gospel story. The words we use to describe the parts of worship and the particular orders of worship we follow differ from church to church. But a wide variety of traditions view gathered worship as a weekly rehearsal of the good news. And that’s my prayer, that the children who read this book will learn to love and enjoy their church’s regular gatherings, because in worship they hear Christ speak and then by faith respond. With joy in Christ, Jared Kennedy I watched the video on new growth publishers page and then contacted the publisher and was offered a pdf copy to review. After sharing the link with friends and church leadership as I think this book could benefit the children in my home church. What I liked about this book: *Gospel emphasis. Worship works together to tell (or review) the gospel story. *The author's purpose is achieved- I love this book because it's clearly reminding the audience that we are to love and enjoy this precious time together! *Biblical Connections: Ephesians 5, Isaiah 6, and Luke 22 tying together Biblical foundations of worship. These passages are either in the book or the references given and the concepts explained- with a statement to look it up in your own Bible- this is a biblical literacy skill! *Too often we speak and teach of worship, as the New Testament shares and teaches, but it all started with the Prophet Isaiah, and this connection is so well done, I think many adults will make connections they haven't understood. *This book is reality-based, the premise is Alice asks the Pastor a question about the meeting of the church. It's confusing to her. Her words, his answers, and the other dialogue bring the book completely to life, and it's a realistic scenario. ' I shared the author's intro letter above and didn't know until I read the pdf that he also has a two-page who to teacher your children about worship at the end of the book with more scripture to integrate and other conversations to share with your family. Questions integrated into the book- and answers expected! Engaging! Illustrations and print, clear, readable, uncluttered, yet warm, colorful, and engaging. The main child's name is Alice- and my twin sister is named Alice which is not a common name, so when it's in a book, I love it. People in the book are represented as different skin tones, ethnicities. Not only are their faces realistic but while I own other books this illustrator has drawn- I've never noted the expressions, the paster winks, the kids have many appropriate facial expressions and emotions. What I wonder about this book: If the book is listed as ages 5-8, why does the book include 4th-grade kids who typically are 9 and 10 years old? I think this book could easily be used with children ages 5-11, and one of my friends watched it for me, and said her almost 3 years old sat through the author's reading and answered most questions out loud! How many adults will learn something from this book? Will littles be confused by this book, if the worship service they attend is different than the liturgical elements the book lists? Call to Worship Praise & Adoration Confession & Lament Words of Assurance Welcome Ministry of the Word Communion Obedience Tithes Benediction Our church does not have this order, these titles, or the formality that this liturgical process implies (to me). But we do have a Call to Worship and during our Worship, we praise and adore, and during our Lord's supper, our Ministry of the Word, Prayers, and sharing we often have mention of confession, lament, obedience, and a benediction prayer but these are not named elements of the service, and we don't have a welcome and greet one another regularly, and certainly not in a pandemic (but we do welcome and greet one another a lot before and after our meeting.) Our leadership has streamlined our service so much that we do not have an offering passed during the meeting, but rather a place to give an offering as you come and go from our meeting. We also have the option to give through our website and set up a reoccurring offering electronically. But I also wonder, if a parent or leader can't just explain to the child who is listening, this is a traditional formal church service plan, and every local gathering of believers plans their meeting to meet the needs of those in attendance and to worship God corporately. So our meeting looks a little different, our meeting locations have been very different, but all of the elements in the examples are part of a rhythm that are aspects of biblical worship and corporate meetings. Having seen the pdf version, many of the 'headings' that traditional churches may use are separate titles on the page, and could easily be ignored, explained, or included. Let your children ask, wonder and intrigue is the foundation of learning! Because I wondered about how this book would be appreciated in my circle of local church friends, I shared the video with a few teacher friends, a few parents, others in children's ministry, etc. Not one of them has said anything but positive things about this book, and they all see value in it. Several commented that this would be good for adults as well, one watched it with her almost 3 year old who actively answered the questions and stuck with most of the reading of it, and I read it to my almost 11-year-old daughter, who maturely said- "It's good, and it would be useful." Connections: In the book, in the letter shared above from the start of the book, and in the two pages at the end, there are verses and passages to look up, suggestions like talk about lifting hands in worship, and several other elements that would be great and are really needed for children to grasp what is happening in your local church, perhaps a relatives local church that has a different order, structure, is more or less formal. I wished before visiting different denominations of family and as a college student, I'd had a book like this that had exposed me to more information, and made it more normal, so perhaps I would have discussed it more with family or others at churches I attended in college. Discussions of the church being the people- the body of Christ from I Corinthians could also occur, as well as an opportunity to help children understand that there are different denominations, different types of churches, but that many are like our church, centered on the good news- the gospel of Jesus Christ. Social-Emotional learning- the facial expressions of characters would be great to ask children- what does it mean when her face looks like that? Could he look like that and could it mean more than one thing? Do we express our thoughts, feelings, and emotions in our eyes? mouth? whole face? ... Thankful to partner with New Growth Press and have a chance to review the pdf of this book, I hope this becomes a new regular review partner, as I own A LOT of the books published by this group.
I love Kennedy's intentions with this book but I feel as though they did not get implemented as excellent as it could have been. The initial scripture reference for the book is Ephesians 5:18-20. Kennedy provides a brief introduction letter to parents to help understand how to use the book for teaching their kids about Church. He describes the fact that there are many "rhythms" we go through each week at Church and how they can be confusing to children. The book is a story about a students asking a pastor questions regarding the church service. The pastor proceeds to answer these questions in a way that explains the purpose of each part of the church service by referencing the story of Isaiah. The parts described are: - Call To Worship - Praise & Adoration - Confession & Lament - Words of Assurance - Welcome - Ministry of the Word - Communion - Obedience - Tithes - Benediction Although he mentions in his introduction letter that the parts of worship and the particular orders of worship are different from church to church, I would have a hard time reading through this with my younger children. I feel as though they would be confused because our church service doesn't look like what was described throughout the book. Yes, every "rhythm" addressed is biblical and worth while to know and most Bible-Believing churches will go through these rhythms in some way or other. The story itself is wonderful and speaks truth. But I think it would be less confusing to children if the story eliminated an "order" of the "rhythms". The illustrations were beautiful and would capture any kid's eyes. The illustrator used a stained glass window theme throughout the book to capture a picture of each "rhythm". I wasn't a huge fan this theme. I typically think of Catholicism when it comes to stained glass windows as many modern day churches no longer utilize stained glass windows. This of course is not an issue with biblical truth, but rather my own preference. I received an e-copy of this book from New Growth Press in exchange for an honest review.