This article may have been written for an audience of parents with young children, but I think the point the author makes can be applied to older youth as well. After reading the post, I began thinking about how we welcome young
people in worship. Do we fully embrace young people in worship? Do we offer more opportunities to connect them to the worshipping community than by serving as an acolyte or worship assistant? What is our attitude toward young people in worship? We may invite young people to attend or be a part of our worship life, but all too often our attitudes toward them in worship don’t reflect a truly welcoming and accepting community.
As a youth, I was welcomed and embraced by my home worshipping communities, and it had a significant impact on my faith formation and spiritual development. I was seen more than as an acolyte or an usher; I was welcomed as a member of the community. I was taught that I am an accepted member of the Body of Christ. Welcoming the presence of young people in worship shows them that they are an important member of the Church and that they are always welcome in God’s family.
The next time your community gathers to worship, look around the congregation. Are youth present? Are they doing more than just sitting in the pews or doing the jobs that the youth do during worship? How can you show young people that they really are welcomed in worship?
You can read the full Huffington Post article here. It is a wonderful read; I would suggest sharing it with every member of your parish. For more resources on how to engage youth in worship, contact the Office of Youth Ministry.