School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


Rebecca Watson


Children's Worship, Children's Ministry, Children's Spiritual Formation, Children's Corporate Worship Design, Worship Engagement


Christianity | Educational Methods | Liturgy and Worship | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The engagement of children in meaningful worship has been neglected, despite the investment of modern churches in essential safety protocols and digital media in children’s ministry. The twenty-first-century consumerist mindset is driving worship design, essentially undermining the worship leader’s role as the shepherd of a child-centered and Christ-focused approach. Many churches are neglecting the biblical instruction to cast vision and express value for children’s corporate worship. A sense of awe and wonder is notably absent in many corporate services designed for children. Drawing upon biblical principles, educational theory, and corporate worship practices throughout history, this qualitative historical study seeks to recover the perspective of the church body portrayed in Acts 2:42–47. The ultimate goal of worship is to glorify God and seek His presence. Engaging elementary-aged children in worship with this goal in mind requires a vision and a value for their spiritual formation. Overcoming the challenges to worship engagement will significantly impact the design of children’s ministry by inspiring a renewed commitment to children’s spiritual formation. Identifying strategies for worship engagement highlighted through this project will add vitality to the life of our worship communities.