Parenting in the Pew: Sermon Listening Tips for Kids (and You)

If your church is like mine, the beginning of the pastor’s sermon is marked by the subtle sound of candy wrappers opening. The irony of it all, however, is that as a congregation, our focus should really be on preparing to be fed by the Word of God, and that includes our children.

While there’s nothing wrong with using the power of the peppermint to get your children to sit still, it shouldn’t be the main thing to look forward to during a worship service. For assistance with parenting in the pew, try these select sermon listening tips for kids (and you) from Pastor Jason Helopoulos:

1. Model excitement about the Lord’s Day.
Your children are always watching you. From a young age, they know if you’re engaged with an open Bible on your lap or if you’re more worried about what you’re putting on the table for lunch.

2. Implement family worship at home.
If Bible reading, devotions, and prayer are a part of your dinner routine, participating in worship at your church becomes more natural.

3. Read the sermon passage during the week.
In the age of the Internet and the email, most churches post their order of worship and sermon text prior to Sunday, so the pastor’s message doesn’t have to be a surprise topic when you pick up your church’s bulletin. If you read the Bible passage throughout the week and converse about it around the dinner table, then your children will have something to listen for in the sermon.

4. Sit near the front.
If your family is past the infant and toddler stages, don’t be afraid to head to the front of church, where there are fewer distractions and a closer proximity to the pastor.

5. Stop worrying.
Children aren’t perfect, and everyone should know that. You’re at church to worship the Living God, not to worry about a lack of tolerance from others.

6. Be consistent.
Like so many other parts of parenting, rules mean little if they’re not enforced. Be consistent with your expectations and desires throughout the service.

7. Follow-up after the service.
Walk with your children in the Lord. Ask them follow-up questions about the service, not as a pop quiz, but as a way to communicate what was learned or how they may have been blessed.

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