Should Your Child Be in Church?

Should Your Child Be in Church?

If you're like most Christian homeschooling parents, you probably place a high priority on worshipping the Lord at church on Sundays. But what do you do with your little ones when they cry, fuss, or make noise during the service? Is taking them to the church nursery or children's church until they are old enough not to be a distraction to others really the best answer?

Although consideration of other worshippers dictates that parents temporarily remove children from the service during disruptive episodes, it doesn't mean you have to exclude your children by permanently leaving them in the care of others. In fact, just the opposite can be true.

More often than not, the baby who is carried into church services and taught from his earliest days to be respectful, obedient, and reverent before the Lord will learn a fundamental lesson in self-control that will bless him throughout his entire life. Will it be an easy task? Most definitely not! On many Sundays when you're looking for a moment of spiritual refreshment yourself, you may find it necessary to get up and take your child in and out of the service several times. During moments like these, leaving your children in the care of nursery attendants and children's workers will certainly sound more appealing, especially when dealing with the annoyed looks of other church members and their well-meaning suggestions to use the nursery.

In addition, some may argue that expecting a toddler to stay with his parents and behave in church is unrealistic, unfair, and may even cause a child to dislike church for the rest of his life. They believe there is no beneficial learning that a little one can experience in an adult service. But who can refute the fact that children learn best by mimicking their parents? Because so much of life is caught rather than taught, a child can learn to love the Lord in adult worship. As he observes your attitude when singing praises, giving offerings, praying, reading Scripture, and listening to the pastor, your child will develop an impression of what is acceptable in worship. Plus, he'll experience an added sense of security in being with his mom and dad that can't be equaled anywhere else. As a result, rather than church becoming playtime in the nursery, it will become a time when your child learns to worship within the body of Christ.

Like homeschooling, teaching your child to be involved in church worship requires prayerfully considered goals. Even though there is no predetermined age when a child should be expected to participate and sit quietly in church, here are some practical do's and don'ts that might aid you in your efforts to reach your goal:

• Don't let your child entertain others sitting ahead or behind you in the pew.
• Don't let others entertain your child.
• Don't wait for a total meltdown before removing your child from the service.
• Don't take the entire toy box to church.
• Don't sit in the front. Pick a pew in the back near a quick and unnoticed exit.
• Don't get discouraged. It takes time to train. Be consistent, even if it means missing most of the sermon.
• Don't take your baby to the nursery from the service. Find a quiet room not being used in the church or take your child outside until he's calm.

• Set age-appropriate goals. Expect squeaks and squawks from a child under two, a smaller amount of noise from a child over two, and a certain amount of restlessness from any child who needs to sit for long periods of time.
• Be patient with those who criticize your decision to keep your child in church.
• Teach your child how to whisper or talk in a quiet voice.
• Prepare your child at home. Teach your child to sit quietly in your lap a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the length each day. Practice during your own family devotions by listening to a tape of a sermon or a children's story.
• Feed your child a good breakfast before church. Avoid sugary treats or snacks during church that only make kids more hyper.
• Take your child to the restroom before entering the sanctuary to eliminate the need to leave during the service.
• Teach your child Scripture with memory aids like the KJV ABC Memory Verse Program© from Alpha Omega Publications®. This will help your child listen for words from the Bible.

It's not always easy having our children in the service with us, but the extra work and effort will bring its own set of joys. Like parenting anywhere else, parenting in the pew simply takes planning, patience, and consistency. Remember, the ultimate goal is much more than training your kids to sit still and be quiet. Rather, your main desire is to teach your children to come before the Almighty God in worship, so they can grow spiritually and learn to love the Lord with all their hearts, their souls, and their minds.

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Comments(24 comments)

CHERYL P 03/05/2009 05:30:21

While I agree teaching your children to be still and listen during church is a wonderful idea, I feel it\'s completely inappropriate to do Sunday morning when most churches have children\'s ministries!! Now maybe we\'re just blessed with wonderful children\'s teachers but why would you deny your child to learn from the Bible at their level of understanding. Our church uses the nursery until 18mo-2 years old then they go to a 2\'s and 3\'s room that uses a cirriculum for lessons and projects (and snack and playtime). When they are four- eight, after Sunday School, they sit with thier parents for singing, giving, announcements, specials and then when Pastor gets up, he dismisses them for Junior Church where they have a cirr lesson, craft, snack and game. After 8, they stay with their parents.

My husband and I use the evening service to have our children practice sitting quiet, singing with us and looking at Bible picture books. The other attenders know that is our purpose and are very understanding, more so than a vistor or new Christian might be in the morning service. Now we have one family (another homeschool family) in our church whose children do not goto Junior Church and I used to think \"oh, that\'s so wonderful.\" But then I just started teaching SUnday School (2nd-4th) and I have two of the girls in my class, now they are either too shy to raise their hand to answer a Bible question (although they\'ll talk about other things) or they don\'t know enough about the Bible to answer the question. Another girl who used to be homeschooled (and Junior churched) but now is in public school could answer every question if I\'d let her.

I\'m rambling, my point is most churches have great alternatives for the children to learn the Bible at their own level! I wouldn\'t give my 5 year old my Kay Aurther Bible Study, nor would I expect her to learn from our Pastor\'s message like I am.

JANNA J 03/05/2009 06:10:46

I appreciate this article. We take our three children into church (ages 5, 8, & 10) and I do think it is important to teach them to sit still and listen and to be reverant. Although they may not understand everything the pastor is teaching, you\'d be surprised how much they DO hear and learn!

The statistic of young Christian adults that go to college and fall away from their faith is staggering. I beleive part of this problem is that we entertain them in our churches from the time they are born. They grow up being entertained & then we send them to college or they move out on their own and they have no idea how to worship. They don\'t know how to sit and listen to a sermon.

So, thank you for writing such an article!

PATTI C 03/05/2009 06:14:16

I am blessed by this article. Thank you for encouragement to let the family worship together. In our world today, the family is continually encouraged to separate, whether in school, in sports, babysitting, etc... At the end of a long week we love coming together and sitting in church as a family. While in our old church we were looked at as if we were a museum piece, in that most of the children were in children\'s ministries. The Bible calls parents to teach their children and we believe it is important to teach them all about God always. During Sundyday church, we all know the littles are richly blessed and are being taught a very valuable lesson in fellowshiping and worshiping from the joyful greeting the elderly and many different ages of our church family, the worship/hymn music, seeing how Mom, Dad, Grandparents, siblings, family, friends, worship, open their Bible and read God\'s word together. It is God\'s community and we should consider not shoving the children in a seperate room just because of their age. Especially at this young age they need community, not just a room full of children only their age. Cutting, coloring, bible Stories on their level can be done at home with their siblings, parents, family and save this precious opportunity to come before the Lord at a very young age. In our large church we were often discouraged from having our children with us as the church of 2,000 had practically everyone in childrens ministries. We sat in church like a museum piece. Very odd, but we were so blessed. The children were into the message and they were all nondisruptive. If the little one was, I would take him into the hall for a bit, but we could still participate in the service. I went into one of my children\'s classes before we decided to remove them only to find the children rockin to a Jesus song with the music of Lou Read from the 60\'s called Take a Walk on the Wild Side about a transvestite. Then another time I picked up my child only to find the teacher with a very low cut top, another miniskirt worn by the teachers teen daughter who was helping. My husband and I helped in the nursery only to find yet another teen helper bend over and the top of her thong was showing. (Yes, we spoke with our pastor about these things.) They just cannot keep up with it all. I believe the Lord has allowed me to see these things, and could it be that I am very in tune with who and what is teaching my children. As a result of long prayer sessions and calling our the our Lord,we are now in a small church worshiping together as a family. It is not that they will understand every message, but isn\'t that what parents are for? We all discuss themessage throughout the week and work on God\'s word together. What power when mom and dad are the mail Bible teachers! I find this verse very interesting and even more interesting was the previous verses regarding adultery, so even the children were not hidden from those topics.

Mark 10:13And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

If you haven\'t tried having your children join you, why not pray about it and ask God for stregnth. Find a friend who will encourage and support you. There are many out there who will strongly oppose your efforts, so gear up witht he Holy Spirit. The love and bonding of a family that worships together is truely a blessing from God.

In His stregnth and peace, patti

PATTI C 03/05/2009 06:27:33

Also, can you imagine the power of the young child hearing prayer requests for a woman with cancer, or a widow living alone, or a child needing prayer for his mom? All of this mixed -real- people cannot be replaced by a seperate class with all 3 yr. olds or like aged children. The mix is a blessing from God. My children are actually concerned for a church member who is going for cancer tests. They -on their own pray for her. They hear the prayer requests and praises and talk of them during the week. Same with the message. We review it throughout the week and we are all on the same message. All real life. Don\'t forbid them. I heard a good message to open the eyes of our church leaders regarding childrens ministries and the billions of dollars spent on stuff. I found it was more of a distraction to teach a child about God with a cartoon cut out and story rather than the hand and sweet smile of an 80 yr. old or a father from another family or a warm conversation with true deep concern from the pastor and all of the mix singing together. It is just beautiful. Why forbid this rich pure no fluff experience. I speak because I have been in both places, and want to truely share the riches of family worship. Amazing!

TASHA S 03/05/2009 06:41:18

I\'m going to have to agree with Cheryl on this one.

I think the idea of \"everyone worships together at ALL times\" (menaing every single minute from the time you walk through the church doors) is a little outdated. Back in the \"olden days\", children\'s ministries simply didn\'t exist. Neither did television, CD players, iphones, and more.... That doesn\'t mean we look to the \'example\' of yester-year. No, instead, we proress forward with things that are modern, don\'t we?? Why does children\'s ministry have to be any different?

Honestly, I feel a little (but not too much, because, well, things could be different) bad for those I see on email lists, message boards, etc who post practically weekly about how they had to leave church service 5 times last week because their little one wouldn\'t be quiet or still. The argument from those in favor of keeping kids in service seems to be \"you\'d be surprised how much they learn\". I wonder how much the PARENTS are learning week after week as they take their kids out of service? Talk about a major distraction.

Now, I am not a fan of children\'s ministries which are just simply fooling around and playing games. But, for a good, solid, Bible-teaching children\'s ministry, where kids actually LEARN something weekly, I think is WONDERFUL!! Sometimes people \"assume\" that all children\'s church programs are just like that \"awful\" one they once witnessed LOL It\'s a natural assumption, but not very logical.

If you\'re one of the ones in favor of keeping your children in church because \"you\'d be surprised how much they learn\", I\'m going to assume that\'s how you teach them at home, too, right? Because \"you\'d be surprised\" at how much they pick up when you read to them straight from the Bible and the Algebra 2 lesson?? This sounds foolish-I\'m sure you actually teach them in an *age-appropriate* way.

Guess what? That\'s what Sunday School and Children\'s Church do. :) Besides, if you\'re heeding the Bible\'s commands, YOU are the primary teacher of spiritual things--not your pastor, or the Children\'s Church leader. YOU, the parent.

TASHA S 03/05/2009 06:46:45

Sorry but if your child is still leaving the worship service to go to another area at COLLEGE AGE, then you should have guessed that they would have no real concept of sitting in a worship service and enjoying it, taking notes, looking up Scripture, etc. Most children\'s church programs stop at 2nd or 5th grade. If 5th, then that would mean around age 10. Before moving away to college, that\'s EIGHT MORE YEARS--actual \"growing up years\", too--to learn how to sit still and be reverent in church!!

I don\'t care if you have your kids in church service from newborn through adulthood; if you are going to send them AWAY from home for college, that\'s just asking for trouble--regardless of what you did for 2 hours every Sunday morning!

Audrey G 03/05/2009 07:00:13

I agree with Tasha that having your children in Children\'s Ministry, geared towards their age and understanding, is better overall.

Our church has taken hold of a \'one message\' and small group concept, in that every child from age 4 to 12th grade is getting the same lesson on the weekend services ~ but it\'s all at their level and depth of understanding. They are in separate classes by age (the younger ones than these are on a different teaching program)--4-k, 1st-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, 9th-age 19-- and then within those classes they have a small group time where they have the same leader from week to week and the same set of peers. e.g. my daughter is in a 4th grade girls small group, and there are two of those for the service we attend.

The kids get to fellowship with like-minded believers and they have another voice speaking into their lives. It\'s important for the Jr and Sr high kids to have another responsible adult telling them the same things they hear from their pastor and their parents.

We have children\'s and youth pastors in charge of all of these services and there are many dedicated 242 Coaches as well. (The group is named after Acts 2:42)

In the car on the way home, the families are able to talk about what they learned and the kids are all on the same page. It\'s wonderful!

If your church is just babysitting the kids and not teaching them, why don\'t YOU be the one to change it! Think of all the kids you can touch for Christ. It\'s true that many kids fall away from church after high school, so why not give them a foundation they can come back to---something they understood as a child.

My husband remembers church as a time to sit still and shut up and it took him some time to WANT to come to church once we were saved in our late 20\'s.

DIONNA D 03/05/2009 07:26:10

We also enjoy having our children in church with us. Our church is small enough that we can personally know all of the sunday school teachers that teach them on Sunday morning during the adult Bible lesson. Their classes consist of teaching the children to lead each other in prayer, learning Bible verses and the children practice telling Bible stories with the teachers carefully guiding the discussion.

On Sunday evening, as well as Wednesday night Bible study, our 4 children stay with us for the entire adult service. We make it a practice to ask questions about the sermon or Bible lesson on the way home and throughout the next few days during dinner time. The children can\'t wait to answer the questions that they knew were coming. It\'s like they were anticipating being able to share what they\'ve learned. I can see such joy and fulfillment in their faces as they participate in these family discussions about God and His word.

Patti, don\'t feel bad about being like a museum piece, there is no shame in that. A piece worthy of being in a museum is a valuable treasure and it\'s rarity is to be seen of others, not hidden away or blended in with the masses. It\'s not always comfortable to stand out, but righteousness usually does.

Our children love the singing and interactive worship part of the service and are welcome to participate just the same as adults. They don\'t just go to Mom and Dad\'s church, it is their church too. From the time they were infants, I sat them forward in my lap during their awake times so they could see what was going on at the front of the church, not the back. I could easily whisper in their ear if they needed to hear my gentle direction. As infants, I only took them out if they needed fed, changed or quieting. As toddlers, I only took them out if they needed the restroom or if they needed quieting, in which case, I made sure it was unpleasant enough that they would not want to go out again. I didn\'t reward them for their outbursts by giving them drinks, snacks or other pleasant distractions. My children are now between 5 and 14 and they all love participating in church.

I dare say, I\'d definitely remove my child from a class that had teachers who were not living a good christian example! I\'m grateful for church leaders who set biblical guidelines for all the children\'s ministry teachers/helpers and have them sign yearly commitments to live by them. This weeds out anyone who may be loosing their desire to live separated unto God. Our church leadership carefully examines the lives of anyone seeking to minister to children and stays very connected with them throughout their length of service to protect from any potential for physical, spiritual, or emotional harm to our children. Parents are welcomed to walk into any class at any given time as we are the ones who are primarily responsible to God for our own children.

There is no perfect church as they are each made up of imperfect people, but if my church\'s teachings and atmosphere were not worthy of my children\'s participation, my husband and I would be prayerfully and diligently seeking for another one.

The nation of Israel was commanded to set up their camp with the tabernacle in the center with each tent facing the tabernacle. This is how our lives should be with the things of God and His house as the focal point. Church participation is very important to our family!

I, too, am guilty of rambling.

That the generations to come may know HIM,


REBECCA C 03/05/2009 07:27:00

It\'s sad that God created the family first, but the moment we enter the doors of the church we split the family apart.

My husband and I taught our children to sit quietly in church, yes this took time and patience on our part but it\'s been well worth it!

In a day and age when many children\'s church programs are focused more on games and fun than the Word of God, having children in the \"adult\" service is very valuable. We have been amazed and blessed at what our children have learned by sitting in church with us.

I do believe in teaching children to sit quietly in church, but let me balance that with... if a church has a solid, Biblical program to teach children on their level then children\'s church is well worth the time.

Our family has been in both places, children in the service and children in separate ministry. Tasha commented \"why don\'t YOU be the one to change it!\" Keep in mind that in this day and age there seems to be a mindset of being concerned that the children are going to get bored, that they need to be entertained. If that is the mindset of church leadership then to try to change that would be like running into a brick wall. You\'re not going to get anywhere.

TERESA G 03/05/2009 07:27:43

Amen! Audrey, I agree with you. If we are not standing up for our kids (if they are not being taught in church) then what\'s the point? I teach my kids classes and what I have found is that it is often the \"preacher\" who learns the most. A lot of time and research has to be put into these things and while occasionally I get to sit in on the adult sermons, I find myself the most enthused about the spiritual growth I get from preparing myself to teach.When thinking about who\'s teaching our children review John 4:39-42. We have obligations in life to teach our children, but ultimately the Holy Spirit will speak straight to their hearts. It\'s not about how much they can learn and remember, machines can do that, it\'s about how much they can apply to their lives and their relationship with Christ. God bless!

GLENDA N 03/05/2009 07:37:50

This idea of children sitting in the services with the family is a relatively new idea. It came about in the 50/60 with Dr. Spock & all of his ideas on child rearing (such as separation anxiety). If one would study the history of our founding fathers, one would see that even church services were very separated. Men on one side, women on the other & the children all together under the watchful eye of a deacon/elder. I raised my children in the nursery, toddler nursery, children\'s church. They know how to behave in church...even at the older ages we still had to \"take them out\" of the services at times, but not near as often...they understood what was expected of them & knew their boundaries. A small child does not necessarily know what is expected of them, they are too young & certainly we know they are going to push the boundaries. It is their sin nature to test & try & to make sure the parent really means what he/she says. One nice idea w/my church is on Sun. evening after the child turns 3, they start sitting with the parents. Then the parent can start training the child to sit in church & hopefully, much of the \"@ year old\" behavior will be pass & it will be easier for the parent. Yes, I understand that a child learns by watching, but how about the family alter...they observe you singing, praying & worshiping the Lord then. Now that my kids are homeschooled, we have Bible class...a wonderful time for teaching. My husband took each child & set up a budget for them & taught them to tithe probably around 4/5. My youngest, who is 10, loves to get her tithe ready! My oldest son, 19 & in college, had paychecks coming after he went back to school & he gave me instructions on how much to tithe....

I have been many time interrupted in my worship of the Lord because of an unruly child & no matter how hard one may try, you are a disruption to those around you....I would be the one to suggest the nursery, etc....many times these children are considered \"well behaved\" but remember Satan wants to keep us from worshiping God & he can & will use a child to disrupt. And, yes, the parents need spiritual refreshing...& no if you are taking your child in & out, the parent is not getting spiritually fed as they ought...even my pastor talks about how he needs to be fed by the preaching of other preachers.

Our church had children\'s church until 3rd grade & then increased it to 5th grade because we have so many bus kids...I brought my youngest daughter out of children\'s church at 4th grade. It was time she sit with the family & while she would rather be in children\'s church & I do believe that putting the message into age appropriate nutshells helps with understanding (they aren\'t ready for meat, only milk & that is scriptual), I knew it was time for her to come out. One needs to look at each child & evaluate.

Many of todays churches are at fault...a leading group of this family church & sitting together is Vision Forum...they have many good ideas. The churches today with all of their programs, etc. have in many ways taken the father\'s authority away...this is the main movement behind all of this...put the father back as the is very hard...the church & life keeps us busier than ever with all the the \"things to do\". Again this is a personal matter, one can say no...I won\'t attend, my child won\'t attend, etc.

We are first of all, to have a right relationship with God & then take care of our activities (notice I didn\'t say worship) comes after our families...saying no many times allows you to have a family worship time...we get too busy & allow the church to take care of what we should be doing...that is where the push for family worship is coming from, I believe...

BETH S 03/05/2009 07:50:36

In our church the family is together for the worship service then we go to age appropriate Sunday School classes. During worship if a child gets fussy mom or dad takes them out until they settle back down then returns.

Sometimes the messages being shared are over children\'s heads. So I always brought scripture themed picture books and quite \"activity\" books (ones where you buttoned Josephs coat of many colors or tied the string around the shef Ruth had gatherd) for them to look at. That way they were learning that during this time we were to be quiet. Now that they are older they look forward to the time we are together as a family, and afterwards we talk about what each of the talks ment to us. We find that different things stick with us and this allows us as parents to explain a point that maybe was unclear to our children.

BRENDA T 03/05/2009 08:31:16

Eph 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Let the husband decide. We can be so double minded sometimes.

Only by Jesus,

Brenda Taylor

LAURA G 03/05/2009 08:52:48

\"I agree with Tasha that having your children in Children\'s Ministry, geared towards their age and understanding, is better overall. Our church has taken hold of a \'one message\' and small group concept, in that every child from age 4 to 12th grade is getting the same lesson on the weekend services ~ but it\'s all at their level and depth of understanding\"

Why couldn\'t an 8 year old, a 10 year old, a 14, 18 or especially a 19 year old understand the same service we listen to? Age segregation in church and school is based on evolution. Someone decided that children couldn\'t understand beyond thier age groups because they hadn\'t evolved far enoough, so they began to seperate them out. As homeschooling mothers, we can teach the little ones during the day, the children\'s lessons, the snack time, the Jesus pictures. I believe that was the parents charge in Deuteronomy 6:7 -

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

In the Bible, the families were together in church, some may say that is outdated... I say that is God\'s way. NOwhere in the Bible does God instruct anyone to teach children seperate from the parents in the church nor does it instruct some man to be the spiritual leader of our young adults... only the father of that young person. I too remember being in church with my parents and having to be quite but it is a precious memory of mine that I am passing down to my kids.

I think sometimes parents can be TOO harsh with thier children and they may be more concerned with themselves being embarrassed than thier child\'s feelings... I can see where that would train a child to not want to go to church. But, if it is handled lovingly, a young man or lady (and I mean 0-19) singing hymns and studying God\'s Word together with thier God given spiritual leader, thier father, who the child will look up to and emulate more than anyone on the planet... I personally that is better overall.

PATTI C 03/05/2009 08:59:29

This post is for those considering the option of having your children in the church service with you or in need of encouragement from those families who are doing this.

My children are ages 11, 9, 7, 5, and just turned 3. They each bring their own Bibles, offerings from their banks, pencils and paper for notes and prayer requests. It took a few times for the youngest to learn to be quiet with a gentle and loving touch from me, my husband or the older children. We all sit in the back area where there is a quick exit so as not to disturb. We do not bring snacks or toys. There is water at our church if needed. We let the youngest in our laps until he is of age to sit quietly. Again, all done with gentle kind encouragement. Some of the youngest\'s energy is let out via the singing time and welcoming time. He sways to the music and claps and and even sings. At times the children make cookies to share after church. Christmas, Easter, they make treats to share with the young, elderly, and inbetween. There is joy in the house of the Lord and it can bee scene in the faces of all ages! You will get much opposition, but you can ask the Lord to help you or possibly find a church that welcomes the little children in the church service if that is what the Lord has for you. Again, find some families who can be an encouragement. There is something powerful in a child watching the example of his father worship outside the home in addition to famiy worship inside the home. The child seems to get use to quietness and joy of the simple church service and isn\'t board in the later years because of all of these early years of experience. Some comments from my children are: \"I like singing\", \"I like to shake hands\", I like to shake hands with the man who has cancer...he has such peace in him even though he has cancer!\", \"I like to open

my Bible and read God\'s Word\", I like how the man who is deaf has such peace even though he is hard of hearing and yet he still sits and listens to the message\", \"I like how Natalie plays piano\", (Natalie is one of our 17 year old members), \"I like how Margie is so friendly to me when I shake her hands\", \"Let\'s keep in prayer about Sharon having her surgery today\", \"I like studying the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11\", \"I like how our our pastor is encouraging the entire church to memorize the books of the Bible\".... This is a sample of the fruit! Let\'s hear some encouragement from more families who do this. Share your tips and blessings so we too can be encouraged and blessed.

STACY T 03/05/2009 09:41:23

This is why we now do go to a church that is a fellowship of other families and meets in a home. We are all together and everyone loves, accepts and wants little ones there.

TASHA S 03/05/2009 12:17:04

\" In a day and age when many children\'s church programs are focused more on games and fun than the Word of God, having children in the \"adult\" service is very valuable. We have been amazed and blessed at what our children have learned by sitting in church with us.

I do believe in teaching children to sit quietly in church, but let me balance that with... if a church has a solid, Biblical program to teach children on their level then children\'s church is well worth the time.\"

Now this I will agree with.

Don\'t misunderstand my being in favor of **my** church\'s children\'s church as my being in favor of ALL church\'s children\'s church programs. *shakes head* That couldn\'t be further from the truth, actually. We are VERY picky about the CC we let our children in. We\'ve been at churches where the CC was just fun and games, and dh and I both felt that keeping them in service was better. Now, however, we are at a lovely church (mostly elderly people) with children\'s programs that are actually good, solid TEACHING.........and the only time they play a game is perhaps the last 5 mins while waiting for the regular service to be over, IF they finish before we do. The bulk of the time is definitely spent on their Bible lesson for the morning.

I just think we need to be careful about making blanket statements, no matter which way your family goes. Blanket statements such as \"children\'s church programs are all just a bunch of fun and games\" are just as bad as saying \"parents who keep their kids in church w/them think they are holier than thou because they don\'t send their kids off.\"

And in reference to the comments about families being separated: We homeschool (as I assume everyone here does??) so our children are with us literally 24/7. The (adding up here.......) 3 hours a week that they are apart from us TOTAL is NOT going to negate our family-first ideas that we actually DO have. (sorry, make that 4.5 hours for my older two, because I\'m now counting our homeschool co-op for everyone).

KRISTI S 03/05/2009 13:06:42

I have 4 great kids. Two of them are under 2. I homeschool. I am with them all week, teaching them and praising God throughout the day. Sunday morning church service without my kids gives me the quiet, calm time to sing and praise God, learn more bible lessons from my preacher, and focus on how I can stay straight in my Christian walk. My kids are in separate Children\'s Church or nursery programs. They are learning and praising God in a way that is geared toward their ages. They love to tell me about the lesson learned during their church time. If they were by my side during my service, they would have missed a great lesson geared toward their age and they would have gotten little from a preacher gearing his lesson to an adult crowd. I thank God for blessing us with talented, loving individuals who are able to lead my kids in praise at a children\'s level thus allowing me to worship with my husband by my side in an uninterrupted atmosphere.

HEATHER H 03/05/2009 21:46:08

Heather H

I love this article, the truth of it is powerful and convicting. It\'s not easy preparing children to stay in service, it\'s sad that so many churches view having children participate in service as a burden to parents. It\'s easier to drop off your kids to an \"age appropriate service,\" then to take the time and teach your children. Jesus never sent the children away. Aren\'t we as parents supposed to be modeling Christ in this manner? How many children understood the Sermon on the Mound? This is a great issue and is long overdue.

My husband and I endure the interruptions, it\'s a worthy sacrafice. If we ever have a rough Sunday, then sermon tapes are always available. I believe that if parents understand that they have the primary responsibility to teach the Word to their little ones & big kids, there wouldn\'t be any need to separate during what should be a corporate worship service. Dad and mom can actually take advantage of their children not understanding the sermon and use that as another opportunity to further witness to them, and it does work. My two older sons 3 & 4 already esteem our pastor, and when we gather together for our family worship time daily, my babies prayer request\'s are for being still during the sermon! It is priceless to teach such a discipline early, and I believe that they will reap the benefit all the days of their lives.

I think fun times with other church kids can be done after church, and ought to be. But for Sunday morning service, you can find my family in the back row, and my boys singing hymns and learning to focus!

SAM L 03/06/2009 08:09:56

Why do we, as Americans, insist on programs in church for our kids? Are we not content with having the government raise them in public school? I\'m always amazed when parents who homeschool say that kids cannot understand what is going on in church. Are you that poor a teacher? Do you only play games, cut and paste, color at home? Have you not tried to feed your kids some meat?

If we teach our children that church is all playing games, coloring, pasting, snacks, etc until they are 12 or 13 (the actual age most children\'s churches are over) and then tell them that, no, real church is sitting quietly in the pew listening to some man they don\'t know talk for 45 minutes - how in the world do we really expect them to want to go?

No, family worship is not a new concept. It has been around since Abraham took Isaac up on the mountain. Together they sacrificed a ram and worshipped God. Abraham didn\'t leave Isaac in children\'s church at the bottom of the mountain.

My kids have always gone to \"big\" church. They like church. My grandkids will as well.

STEVE AND ALLI H 03/06/2009 15:11:27

Yes I agree! Jesus never sent the children away. I will go further to say that he did not water or dumb down what he was teaching the little children either.

Why is it so hard to find a church that will not turn away the children?

REBECCA C 03/06/2009 16:37:28

I loved this article and its emphasis on being close to our children in their experience and training in congregational worship. Truly, the family is God\'s primary-essential unit of church fellowship and worship under the head pastorate of the parents. How appropriate it is for the parents to play a major role in their children\'s introduction and training into church society.

There are so many negative influences tearing the hearts of our young away from caring parents.

I pray God richly bless all of you who encourage family closeness.

As grateful as I am for tremendous children\'s programs avaliable to enrich the young hearts in ways that are great \'kid-appealing\' fun, I have met some tremendous christian adults and young people who exclusevly experienced

teaching and worship in a setting which had them seated with their parents and family.

HOLLY M 03/08/2009 18:04:15

I have to agree that families should worship together and take the opportunity for young children to learn how to behave in service because they are with their parents. Too many churches send the children out of service as if they are not welcome. My son is 10 and has always been with us during church services. We haven\'t had to step out with him since he was three or four. I want him to remember going to church with Daddy and Mama and not being sent away while we worshipped.

ELISA K 05/08/2009 16:51:03

I appreciate this article and the \"old-fashioned\" perspective that is so consistent with the same reasons we are homeschooling our children. We desire to take personal responsibility for training our children in the Lord, and we find pure joy in the connection it brings to our family unit. What better way to bond than by joining together in prayer, song and attention to the Word? Yes, it is not always a blissful experience when they are young, but it is always a beneficial one. Sometimes the best lessons we all learn on Sunday morning are not even from the sermon that was preached (sorry, ministers).

We have three children, ages 18 months to 6 years, and we have always kept them with us for the entire worship service. They have each gone through their \"training\" moments, which require patience, consistency and firmness on our part. When we remove them from service, we do not let them wander in the hallways or play in the nursery - thus rewarding them for acting out and giving them incentive to do it again. We simply remove them, discipline them, and come back in. Sometimes this requires several exits in one morning... but if done effectively, it will not take long for the child to learn. As with all discipline, the child is more at peace and gains more from the experience once they know exactly what is expected of them and that the parents will provide the security of being consistent.

Thankfully, the other members in our congregation have largely expressed support. While sometimes a brief distraction, most of the comments I have received are from people who are glad to see us training our children and who are encouraged by the sight and sound of the next generation worshiping and learning amongst them.

I strongly believe in the benefits of Sunday School for every member of the family. That is when my children receive instruction \"on their level\" and interact with peers, and it is when I am able to have focused study and discussion in an adult class setting. When class is over, my children rush into the Assembly with joy to visit with all of their friends, young and old. They do not feel they have to \"sit and shut up\" during worship, although they have been taught the importance of respect and self control during that time. We provide simple activities for them to do, sometimes related to the lesson being preached (if your church does not offer it, create your own word searches, mazes, coloring pages and quizzes that relate to the sermon - find out from the preacher earlier in the week). As they have gotten older, they take pride in knowing the words to songs and answers to questions posed by the preacher.

I see the benefit of our congregation offering a Children\'s Bible Hour for visitors and guests whose children are not used to sitting through worship (and whose parents might be too distracted or embarrassed otherwise). But for the members of the body, I find the concept of being \"progressive\" a dangerous one to teach our children. Keeping up with the times often runs contrary to biblical teaching, and it should not be valued higher than the benefit of coming together to worship our Lord - young and old alike.

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