Psalm 47: 1 “O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy.”

I have the privilege to travel to Uganda and Kenya each year to teach at a Pastors’ Conference.  Oh, the joy!  Worship with my Ugandan and Kenyan brothers and sisters is filled with clapping and “shouting” for joy.  Needless to say, their worship is lively and invigorating.

Then I come home (insert sad face here).  Our worship isn’t nearly as exciting.  Let me explain quickly.  I don’t mean you have to clap and shout to have worship.  Please hear me.  But the Spirit in which my African brothers and sisters worship is in freedom.  Their culture does not look at someone strange if they sway, jump or dance to the songs. It’s not about what they do in worship. It’s about the Spirit in which they do it.


Children don’t have to be encouraged to move to the music.  Sometimes they just have to move.  I believe, as long as they are not distracting others, we should allow our children to worship as the Spirit leads them.  You have to teach them what is appropriate for the setting.  But give them some freedom.

Why not have a worship time at home and tell them when you sing they are free to respond to the music however they want?  After you do that, ask them why they responded the way they did.  What a great teaching moment for them!  Individual worship, family worship and corporate worship all have different “expectations” of behavior.  Remember, it’s not about what they do.  It’s about the Spirit within them.

Are you free to worship?  You may choose to lift your hands and shout.  You may choose to sit quietly with your eyes closed.  You may clap and sway.  Just allow the Spirit of God which resides in You to express to God your adoration and praise.

Father of worship, I praise You for allowing freedom in worship. You have not dictated a stiff, formal manner that we have to follow.  Thank You for giving us room to express to You our love and devotion.


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