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What's the big deal about Young Living

Thoughts on Children’s Church

I have been asked recently why we don’t use “children’s church” but instead keep our children in the worship assembly throughout the entire worship service.

Before I answer this question, I want to state that I don’t care one way or another what you do with your kids.

And I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way. I mean that I assume you are making decisions for your children that you feel will best benefit them and I don’t feel defensive or judged in any way if your decision is different from mine. I am also making decisions for my children that I feel will best benefit them and I hope that you don’t feel defensive or judged if I make different choices than yours.

Now that I have that out of the way, here is our thinking in keeping all of our children in the worship assembly:

  • We want our children to be able to sit quietly through an assembly and realize that sometimes it is not their time to be the center of attention. We don’t mind working with them at home or taking them out during worship to help them learn this. Because of this expectation, even our little children are able to attend weddings and funerals with us.
  • We want them to know from an early age how we worship. We stand to sing praises, bow our heads and remain silent during prayer, listen to the word of God being read aloud, take communion, etc.
  • We want them to hear things above their understanding. They recently heard about mission work in Mexico and Cambodia. It is common for our little children to ask us questions after worship service has ended, like “What is sacred?” or “What is tribulation?” This is a great opportunity for discussion and learning!
  • We want them to see and hear respected men in positions of authority reinforcing what we teach at home. Just this week, one of our girls who is of the age to be eligible to attend children’s worship, whispered in astonishment during the worship service, “Mama! He just said my memory verse!”

Here is how we teach our kids to be still and quiet during worship.

Do your children attend children’s church? Why or why not?

(Remember, no judgment here…)

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Comments

  1. We don’t use children’s church but are finding that most folks in our church are not happy about our decision. We, like you, are not making any statements out the choices of others but are still on the receiving end of plenty of negative comments.

    Great post! Thanks for just clearly tossing some reasoning out there!

    • We’re in the same boat. We choose to keep our kids upstairs to teach them to sit nicely and because we believe that church is family time. For the most part they are good (although our youngest is 18 months old and just getting the hang of it), but have gotten some “looks” and comments from others who feel that the children are disturbing their worship time.

      • I had not even heard of children’s church until I was in my late 20′s, I’m 35 now. My church is to small and I like it that way, but more importantly, the older folks at church make it a point to tell me that they love hearing the sounds of babies, it is the next generation.
        Have you ladies thought about smaller congregations? This is again another point of what is right for one is not right for all, but I feel it is easier to get off path in a larger congregation,
        More accountablility and close relationships formed in smaller groups.

        • We go to a very small church (less than 40 people there on an average Sunday) and I have had some people tell me that they admire the way we keep our children with us. There’s just a few who don’t appreciate it and for some reason, they always choose to sit near us in the back. So I really don’t worry about them. If they don’t want to be distracted by the kiddos, they could sit somewhere else.

          • May I make a comment regarding that please? This is the way that my husband and I look at kids being in church. If I’m worried about what such in such is doing with whom then I’m not in the correct frame of worship. So as long as your okay with it, your submitting to your husband on his views of it and your not being convicted to do any differently then I wouldn’t personally worry about it.

  2. Our children do go to Children’s Church on Sunday morning. Up until recently they sat with us during the second service but the Church just started up Patch the Pirate so we allow those old enough to go to Patch now, the others sit with us. Wednesday night service everyone just sends their kids upstairs to watch movies, and if the more rowdy children are there an adult goes with them. Our children, plus the extra 3 little ones we take with us to Church, sit in the service with the adults.

    It is important for us to have the children know how to sit still and listen in the adult service, it does bring up many questions which is a great thing. Since we do offer classes on Sunday, we choose to send them because each class is catered to their age group and having taught the classes myself I know they are educational and the kids are learning just as much as we do in the main service but at their level. Now if our Church just used Children’s Church as glorified daycare, like we have seen in the past, we would keep our kids in the main service.

  3. I agree with you, each of us has to do what we feel God leads us to do (whether it be with us in services or in children’s church)!! When we are obedient to His will, it works for good for sure! :) That said, my children are youth (teens), so a little older. They are still with us though through worship and the service as well as our classes. We are beyond the learning to “be still” phase, but we do feel God put it on our hearts to learn together as a family and it’s been a big blessing for us to watch them grow spiritually as well as physically and it helps reinforce the things we teach them at home.

  4. We use it. But honestly, it’s only because I have yet to figure out how to keep my younger two quiet long enough to sit through the 1 1/2 hour service. My 2 year old still hasn’t mastered the concept of “whisper” yet, and our congregation is so small that it would be VERY distracting. But I do envy those that can do it – one day we hope to be there with our kids too!

    • Darcy, it does take quite a bit of training, both at home and at church. Which means, for awhile, when training at church, you may have to take your child out of the service to avoid distraction and to correct a behavior. With us having so many little ones, we’re constantly in training mode! :) Practicing “whisper” can be fun with “whisper games” and always starting off saying, “Let’s practice how we talk in church.” And then you can go on and whisper for a time or during a meal or something.

  5. ADDING: God just pointed something out to me…I said: we are beyond the learning to “be still” phase. But the truth is, that is only in the physical “wiggle-worm” sense. Now they are learning to be still spiritually and mentally to learn to hear His voice in their lives. :) Something I still struggle with too, lol.

  6. My reasons are the same, along with the fact that I feel that some children’s church programs are just play time. As a pastor’s wife, I have often been in charge of CC and when we can have dedicated teachers who are willing to teach during the time, I feel it can be very beneficial, especially for those children who come to church without adult supervision or even those who only come to Sunday Worship time and do not have the opportunity to have SS. But many years, I have only had 2 or 3 parents willing to teach and they wanted to do crafts or let them play outside. Currently at our church, everyone with children are choosing to keep them in the service, but I would be the first to volunteer to teach if there were parents and children who needed it as long as it was actually children’s church time. I would also at the same time try to lead the children to attending worship with their parents as soon as possible/beneficial for that family. I also love when my girls want to whisper what they recognized the preacher quoting/telling. Once I chided my oldest for passing notes, but when I received the note it read, “What is sanctification again?” LOL

    • I am so sorry that many of you don’t have appropriate options for your children at church. I happen to attend a church with a wonderful Children’s Ministry; all the kids are fed the Word from the age of 2 on up. It’s definitely not play time, but we do have fun with it. Our elementary aged students even have a kid’s band to lead praise and worship (real worship), offering time, and they talk about real issues, like having faith and the woman with the issue of blood, honoring God with your life. We also have times of the year where we teach them about missions, and they bring in their money and items for kids all around the world. I have all the confidence in the world that my son is being fed, however, if that was not the case, then he’d have to sit with us. I don’t think you should be judged either way though. It is your perogative and a personal decision.

      tiannamae.blogspot.com

      • Eva,

        I wrote a comment in response to your comment. I placed it at the bottom, but would appreciate your input in terms of craft and play time.

        Thanks,

        Cathy

  7. Yes, ours do. There are too many topics that come up and are just plain inappropriate for them at their ages – for example, when the church does a whole series on sex and what the Bible has to say about it for 6 weeks…. Last week, we visited a church that didn’t have a place for kids over 5 until Sunday School time, so my 6 year old was in church with me while they talked for a good 10 minutes about homosexuality and what is wrong with our nation and blah blah blah – not appropriate, imo, for a 6 year old. Those are NOT questions that I want to be answering for her right now – she is not one to take the age-appropriate answer if something above that has been mentioned – she will press on and on and on and talk to her younger brothers about it, and twist the words because she didn’t quite understand… not something I find appropriate.
    We homeschool and I *want* my kids to have a good, reliable source of friendships and fellowship with kids their own age each week. I also don’t really feel it’s necessary for them (2, 4, and 6) to learn to sit still during a 1+hour long church service – particularly since I’m unable to concentrate on the service if one of the three is making a peep or doing something they shouldn’t be. I want to be able to enjoy the service and be “fed” and “nurtured” without them for a brief time each week – there are VERY few other hours in my week in which I’m able to do that, so I want to take advantage of it now.

    I respect those that prefer to take their kids to worship service, but I personally do not like it for our family.

    • Kristy Jensen says:

      I agree with you totally. I have all boys. They are VERY wiggly and talkative. My oldest is 5 and he will ask every 5 min when is the service over. I get nothing from the service when they are with me. They tell me all of the wonderful things they learn in CC. It is a wonderful resource to utilize during this time in out lives.

  8. A very timely post. We had a cranky toddler this morning that we put in the nursery this morning because there were no seats in the “cry area” of the sanctuary. Of course we were called within 15 minutes to come get her from the nursery because she wouldn’t stop crying. She just needed a snack and her mama. My husband (who is Jewish) made a comment that he prefers going to Temple (we rotate where we worship) because that worship community is so much more accepting of children in services.

    Sadly his comment, from my own experience is true. I continue to be on the look out for a Protestant church that is as accepting children in worship. (Not asking too much, just want a place that doesn’t give us the stink eye when a toddler drops something or makes a peep.)

    Btw, came over from Life In A Shoe.

    • Let me suggest visiting a church of Christ. :)

    • Generally speaking, I’ve found that churches that tend to be more Liturgical/High Church tend to be much more accepting of children remaining in the service. I’ve attended Lutheran (ELCA), Episcopalian, Catholic, and United Church of Christ services with my husband, and children always stayed with their parent’s during the service. Not sure why, just something I’ve observed.

      • That’s so funny, over here in the UK it is the exact opposite! I have been glared at by numerous old ladies and asked to take my son out by the church warden recently.

    • The church my family attends is part of the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America, which has locations all over the country. We don’t have children’s church during normal worship, I’d never heard of it until I was an adult. There is Sunday School before church, and then the children sit with their families for the main worship. There are nurseries for the parents whose children are being too disruptive. Some moms just sit in there and listen to the sermon while their children play, but that seems to be the minority. So most Sunday mornings the back third of the church is filled with the families with small children, the next third or so is the parents that only have a few older kids still sitting with them and then the rest is usually the grandparents :)

      If you are interested you can check us out here: http://www.apostoliclutheran.org/

    • Sarah,

      Some of the more traditional protestant churches are very child friendly.

      Modern evanglical and baptist churches…not so much.

      We attend a Lutheran church. Children’s church is unheard of and the general consensus is that it is not good for families.

      • My husband and I both grew up in Lutheran churches. Sunday School was before or after church in all the churches we’ve ever attended, and then children would sit with their families through church. My four sons all learned from the time they were babes-in-arms to sit through the service; and yes, I have had my fair share of people who gave me the stink-eye. But watching the boys grow up in faith usually worked the kinks out with most of them. However, I have noticed that there are a fair number of parents who think just progressively saying “SHUSH!” louder and louder will take care of a curious toddler. It’s sad. I think the boys got so much out of being in church with us as they grew up, and now to see parents not even attempting to “get through” a service with their children is heart-breaking.

  9. Yes, we definitely use Children’s Church. There are many reasons for it, but the first is that the time is better used if they are learning something at their level. Second, I hate it when parents who have “out of control” children decide to use the worship service as a time to train their children (personally I think that they should have them “house trained” before they try to “church train” them…..if you get my drift). As an adult, I want to be able to enjoy the time and receive a blessing myself (not being selfish, just real).

    Nehimiah 8:1-3

    1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding , upon the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday , before the men and the women, and those that could understand ; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law.

    • Rae,
      Just thought I would offer a link to a sound biblical exposition of the passage you quoted. (Part 2 can be found here ) I am not sure that text supports your view when examined carefully.

      Also I must confess that as a pastor and a father who keeps his children in the service from infancy, I am not sure how to take your comments. If we are truly to be a COMMUNITY of faith then all ages and levels of maturity should be welcome since our time together should be pushing us all to rise above the level where we find ourselves and reaching for greater maturity. When I read your comments I cannot help but be reminded of the the Disciple’s response to the parents bringing their children and infants to Jesus. Thankfully the Master corrected the Disciples and welcomed them, making them (with all their noise, fidgets, snotty noses, and inconvenience) the example of how one enters the kingdom (Luke 18:15-17). Just food for thought.

      Respectfully,
      The Pauper

      • Pauper, I used the Nehemiah passage, as well, in my comment (I hadn’t read the comments before posting mine) more in reference to the rejoicing that went on during the reading of the law. The idea that crafts and play time are cast in a pejorative light, from my view, is to paint them unfairly.

        How is using the example of Jesus allowing children to come to Him an example of how a church service might look? Yes, we are a community of faith, but that doesn’t mean not having kids in the service negates that idea.

        I read the first part of your link, and am not sure what to make of it. I guess that I don’t understand why it is that the family integrated movement (not to use that in a negative sense, but it’s the only way that I can think to describe it right now) needs to make a Biblical case for “doing church” that way, i.e., w/their families present. Isn’t it OK if the Spirit of God doesn’t lead all of us that way?

        Lastly, if an adult was being disruptive in a church service so as to distract from the message, would it be OK to ask them to leave so the rest of the people could hear?

  10. Our oldest is 21 and we haven’t used children’s church until recently. After a changeup at the church we had been attending, the service offered very little substance even during the singing part of the service. We found that our two youngest, 3 and 5, benefitted greatly from the children’s classes. It wasn’t simply playtime, as we have seen elsewhere, although games were used as reinforcement. We are now part of a home church where we all learn together and all ages contribute. Such a blessing! We also occasionally attend another church, as we are searching out His will for us. As our little ones are accustomed to children’s church now, we send them.

  11. Our boys (9 and 11) have always stayed with us during worship service. When we were first married we attended a non-class (no Bible class; just worship with no CC) church, and we were SO IMPRESSED with the children of that congregation we decided it was how we wanted our children to raised (and behave) someday. Plus, the self-discipline is important in other environments such as restaurants and the doctor’s office. It’s not a real popular choice, but we have never regretted it! Thanks for sharing. ;)

  12. We keep our children (3 and 1yo) with us in the service. First off I will say that it is challenging and hard work, but definitely worth it! It’s a fantastic opportunity to teach our children self control.

    I agree with all that you said. I love it when my 3yo gasps and says “He said Israel!” or whatever Bible word he recognizes (Today it was “He said The Ark of the Covenant!”) Sometimes he even catches things that us parents have missed (this is why I don’t buy the argument that that kids in the service keep you from paying attention, maybe 1 year olds, but any older that that I think they really MAKE you pay attention).

    Personally it really bothers me that families walk in the church doors and the church ‘makes’ all the family members go separate ways. It seems like the church should be the one place that respects and appreciates the family, as opposed to the how the world tears the family apart.

    We go to a fairly large church and as far as I know we are the only ones that keep our little ones with us (Children’s Church is available up to age 5).

  13. Currently my children (3 1/2 and 1 1/2) attend nursery and children’s church, what we call Preschool Worship. It was a hard choice for me because I agree with your post that they need to learn to be a part of worship.
    Our church used to have the children in the service until we began rapidly growing and were almost out of space in the sanctuary. We will continue with children’s church programs until the sanctuary can be expanded. But the clincher is that my husband is filling in as the worship leader and I play keyboard. I haven’t felt comfortable in asking someone to sit with them until I can come down from the stage.
    We have a great Biblically based children’s church and Buddy and I always discuss what he has learned each week. It is through these discussions that I am able to encourage extra learning and reinforce what he has heard at church. The great thing about our Preschool worship program is that it does incorporate prayer, sitting still and listening to a lesson, and standing for a few worship songs.
    I do look forward to bringing them back into the service when it is possible but am okay with where they are at for now.

  14. C&Ped what I wrote on your FB wall the other day. ;)
    I really appreciate the family integrated worship argument. Right now we have a one, two and three year old (and I’m 6 months pregnant to boot!) and my husband runs the sound board throughout our entire worship service. Needless to say, I am SO thankful for our nursery (for infants and toddlers ) and our children’s church program (which I actually direct). It’s for 3 to 5 year olds only and we meet during the sermon. It’s a nice balance, in my opininion. :)

  15. We do not send our children, for the most part they do pretty well.

  16. Yes we use it (in fact I started it). My boys are in the service until the sermon. Our services are long from 11 till about 2pm. They just cannot sit still that long. My oldest son has SPD and it’s really difficult for him to sit still and quiet. They get a sermon/lesson during children’s church and my boys LOVE it!

    Another reason I started children’s church was the ugly comments and looks that I was getting from some members of the congregation who have completely unrealistic ideas of how children should behave.

  17. Ours stay in the service with us for all the reasons you listed.

    Also I do not trust anyone other than my family to be responsible for my children : )

    Maybe it would be fine. Maybe everyone is as trust worthy as they seem, but our girls are too precious to go on “maybe”.
    Just my opinion.

    Oh and about a small church and the littles staying quiet, I think it is wonderful to hear children in a church service–even if they aren’t being perfectly still and quiet.

  18. No, we don’t use the children’s church program at any church we attend or visit.

    Today we visited a church that has “Family Sunday” once a month and today all the kids were in the service. I could see about 10 children from where I was sitting, aged around 6-10. Only three of them were well-behaved–one was Autistic, one had Down’s Syndrome, and one was a 10 year old who behaved like an adult, all from different families. The behavior of the 7 other children was absolutely shocking, and I’m certainly NOT one to get out of whack over children being children. But, this was bizarre. My first thought was that these kids had no idea how to behave in an event setting such as church and obviously needed more practice, and, better input from the parents. Then, I noticed the 2 teen girls in the second row, trying to sleep during the sermon in an obnoxious manner, right next to their mother who did nothing to correct them. This whole ordeal was so far beyond the norm of basic behavior of kids in a church service and, of course, it’s what comes to mind when I read about this topic.

  19. We do not use a children’s church, but then again, we don’t go to any church. Our church is our life, like our homeschool. Tonight our family had church at the dinner table. We talked about complicated subjects…it was amazing to see what they came up with. Of course I have 9, 10 and 13 yo.

    That being said, I grew up with no SS. My siblings and I grew up in the pews with our mother. We heard inappropriate and saw inappropriate things. I blame that on a lack of parenting on the part of my parents. But, it makes the concept of not having my children with us while worshiping a foreign concept. Our children (when we do attend a church) refuse to go to a SS classroom, but prefer to be in the service with us. My daughter asked me once why she wasn’t old enough to be around Jesus…

  20. Our children remain in worship service with us because I want them to hear what we are hearing, and I want to hear what they are hearing. Our children emulate much of what we do, so it’s important for them to see how we participate in all aspects of corporate worship.

    During our youngest’s first year of life, I recall several people (at different times) remark about how refreshing it was just to hear a baby laugh, coo, or even cry during service. They missed it. We fellowship with several churches in our area, which has resulted in our children having been diverse worship settings and thereby, having diverse worship experiences. Our oldest, who’s very observant, remarked on the way to worship service one morning that a certain church in the area was “for children”. I suspected why this was believed, yet I asked anyway. The response was as I suspected…because children were allowed to participate in their services. It confirmed for me that the correct choice for our family was to keep our children in worship service with us.

  21. We do not send our kids to the children’s Bible study that occus during the sermon time at our small church. I too am taking some continuing comments about it. My kids are 10, 10 and 9…and they are quiet, sit stll and listen. They were baptized at an early age too,…so I feel like they are past going out of the service now. The other reason I don’t send them is a little more controversial. At our former (mega) church in the city, there were multiple services and opportunities for those teaching to get to a church service other than the one the taught during. Now that we are back home in a very small town our church is much, much smaller…with only one service. They rotate who works with the kids monthly…therefore those volunteers miss the sermon for an entire month. That idea makes me squirm. I wouldn’t want to do that…so therefore I don’t want to make anyone else do that either. My kids are still a little too young for traditional youth group… So I guess we are just going to have to be patient for a little while longer. :)

  22. Our church has three worship services, so we take our kids to the second service, then volunteer in the children’s ministry in third. (I will never be holy enough to make it to the 8:15 service. ;-) ) I went to Sunday School when I was little, and it was an enjoyable time for me, so I don’t really want to deny my kids that. They love it. But if I had to choose, they’d be right there in worship with me, and for the reasons you state. Especially the first and third ones.

    Almost no one brings their children to worship services at our church, even though our pastor has specifically told them to on more than one occasion. They seem to view worship as a grown-up activity, and really enjoy the free babysitting for a couple of hours on Sunday. We’ve fragmented our society so much that we don’t even understand why parents and children should be together during corporate worship! What does it mean to your child’s view of religion if he doesn’t see you pray with others, sing with others, and submit to the leadership of your church on a regular basis? I don’t know, exactly, but I think I’ll pass.

  23. I totally forgot to add that if my children get a little rowdy, I’m not ashamed to be seen taking care of that in the most appropriate way for the circumstances. I’m also not concerned that my smaller babies might “bother” somebody. If a nursling needs to nurse, I’ll take her out, and if a child needs a spanking, I’ll take her out. Otherwise, we don’t let our kids out of services just for the sake of keeping others around us happy or saving our own reputations as parents in control. Our kids are well-behaved because they no there’s no pleasant alternative to being quiet and listening through the whole service.

  24. We’ve never sent our children to children’s church. We recognize that the primary responsibility to train and disciple our children lies within the family and we love it! We attended a very large program driven church and now we are at a smaller church that is more family oriented. Our services are great and I just love it when our children’s eyes light up because something our pastor says relates to what they have been learning at home! If our kids are disruptive, we will sometimes get a look but that means “Can we help?” and is never ugly in any way.

    And, we are blessed to have a pastor who will, on occasion and when the message is relevant, stop in the middle of the service to sing a “children’s song!” All the kids still remember when we sang, “Only a Boy Named David” right in the middle of a sermon.

  25. Our kids are in children’s ministry (the 3yo the whole service, the 7yo after we sing). Some fruit we see is that our children learn to sit quietly among other children (when it’s very tempting to “talk to your neighbor”). I also love that my son feels confident to talk in front of a group when answering Bible trivia and learns that another adult is in charge (and not just Mom and Dad…since we homeschool and are not involved in a co-op). I love the friendships my son has developed at church too….and he loves his teachers.
    Do we send our kids to children’s church all the time? No…but we do the majority of the time. If my 3yo requests to stay in service with us, we allow her. My 7yo can’t wait for his classtime. Also, during the “sick season” we don’t send them to kids church as often. I love seeing them learn the worship songs alongside us during service and then we practice them during the week. Our church is pretty open to children in adult service or going back to children’s services. Of course, spiritual disciplines and training happen in the home….and Sunday is just the reinforcement of what they are learning.
    Just like any decisions we make for our children, we seek the Lord’s glory in them all. Be blessed!

  26. My husband is a pastor and I’ve received some pressure to participate in children’s church, mainly they want me to take my turn watching their kids. I always teach during the SS hour even though I would rather take my kids to the family-integrated class (which was my idea and an answer to my prayers.) I think mothers of large families have to realize at some point that if they keep having children and participate in teaching all the classes their kids are in, they will NEVER be in church. That’s not a good idea. I agree with all your points, too.

    Celee

  27. Gina DeBruler says:

    The two oldest stay with us in the sanctuary, the two youngest go to children’s church. We have great conversations and lots of learning opportunities with all the kids because of our choices. Everybody is learning. We were very purposeful with our decision.

  28. Some of these comments make me very sad- that you live somewhere so awful that you believe no one else is capable of caring for your children, that your kids believe the only place to be with Jesus is in “big church”, that so many churches just offer playtime/babysitting, etc.

    I believe that it is important for kids to learn on their own level and I DON’T believe that children are little adults and should be expected to act accordingly. Our church is open to children in service, but they also have a wonderful childrens’ program that we volunteer with. Starting at age 2 they are required to sit through a lesson, sing songs, and and do a relevant craft. A paper is sent home each week with what they learned and reinforcing activities to do at home.

    If one of my children (6, 4, and 2) were to ask to stay with us, I would certainly allow it, given they were able to behave appropriately. I will not, however, spend the whole service correcting behavior, nor will I give them other activities to hold their attention (video games, coloring, toys)- that really just defeats the purpose and is distracting to me and those around me. There are other places to teach such behavior that does not distact others from being Spiritually fed.

    • For my family there is an utmost concern regarding what may be taught in children’s church, and I can honestly say I don’t trust what may be taught. I don’t want this to sound as if my husband and I hide under a rock, but as a family of two faiths we must be her primary religious teachers. That means we must know what is being said to her. In addition, the idea of children being shuffled out of services is a foreign concept in the Jewish faith; and therefore, to my husband. (And, as a working mother I treasure the time I have with her, even that hour during services. I can’t count the number of kisses I can give her while in line for communion.)

  29. Stephanie says:

    We do what I think is a great comprimise. Our baby goes to the nursery (or is in a wrap with me depending on his need to nap). We have a toddler church for 2 and 3 year olds. The kids sit through singing and greeting time and leave right before the sermon. They do there own story anlesson. I like that I don’t have to wrestle a toddler and a baby and can listen to the sermon, find the verses in my Bible, and really learn from the sermon. During evening service we work on training our 2 year old to sit through service. Once the kids are 4 they sit through all of church service. I love that 4 and up are with us in church the whole time.

  30. Our church does not have “Children’s Church” during service, but afterwards we have sunday school. I don’t leave my daughter there, but stay and interact with her and the other kids/moms/teachers. Lucy has learned to sit quietly and has learned the routine, as have all the kids (all 7 of them, our church is pretty small). I think it’s important to have them in worship so they feel included in the body of Christ as a whole and not just an off shoot. I feel for the parents that are being criticized by their own family in Christ for keeping their children in service, when are we going to learn?

  31. While my children are not little adults, they are learning to be adults someday. While the topics are over their heads some days, our children need to learn as they grow. What better place than Church to learn of the evils of society and God’s perspective on them? And when my children ask hard questions (like how do babies come out when I am pregnant), I answer their question. I do not elaborate, I answer their question.

    I have spent much time in the back of church with my children over the last 23+ years. Church is not the place to discipline, it is the time to expect good behavior. Honestly, by the time they are four, we can take my children ANYWHERE and they can behave. This has worked for us. I must say this does not make me popular. Most people do not understand us. This is a shame because we can’t figure out what we are doing so different from how our parents raised us. I tell people to sit in front so the little ones can see what is happening. And to dress them nicely so they know this is a special place. Just what worked (and is working) for us.

  32. At our church, children of all ages are encouraged to stay in the “big room” for the worship time. During this time in between songs, the pastor also talks a bit about the sermon topic, introducing it, as the kids and adults have lessons on the same topic each Sunday. If babies NEED to go to the nursery, the nursery workers will go early..but the church encourages parents to keep their kids out of nursery for worship time. After worship, we have coffee and fellowship, then kids go to their classes, nursery is open for the babies, and the adults have their lesson.

    Right now, we send the older 2 to their class (my daughter sometimes goes to nursery, other times she goes to the preschool class-she’s 2, so technically she’s young for the preschool class but sometimes she wants to be with her brother) for the lesson time. My son is very energetic and isn’t able to sit still that long..even just the worship time can be hard to get him to behave. We’re working on it though and he’s improving!

    During the adult lesson, we sit at round tables of 8 or so and the pastor will have discussion questions throughout the sermon…while I love the discussions, we probably won’t be keeping our kids in the adults class time for a while yet, until I can trust that they’d be able to sit and listen, and talk when appropriate (not just assume that because someone at the table is talking, that it’s time for EVERYONE to be talking :P )

    http://ramblingsmom.com

  33. Mine are still babies and while I do want them to attend the wonderful CC at my church, I do want them to be able to sit thru a worship service. Those are excellent points, maybe it would be a good idea to have them sit in once a month or so?

    Thank you!

  34. We were raised the very same way. I remember as a small child wanting to go to children’s church and my mom never allowing us to go. I have a very early memory of my mom putting a blanket down on the ground and that was my spot to stand.. My kids now go to church with me. They don’t even want to go into children’s church. (honesty I think they like the music better) I like the fact that they would rather worship with me than with their friends.
    I stand with you. Worship as a family.

  35. I do agree with you on most levels. We do both. We exclusively used the nursery/preschool church until Kindergarten, when our son chose to go to “big church” with us. After about 6 months of this, we sent him to children’s church once because of the adult nature of the current sermon series. Now he is 8 and sometimes he “chooses” to go with us based on the sermon series and sometimes he chooses to go to “kid church” where he has some friends. There is some play time but also praise and worship time as well as “small group” lesson time. They always send home a flyer so we can have family discussion at home. I think it’s the best of both worlds.

  36. Our children all attend their classes on Sunday morning . Two of our children are in 6 – 11 year old class and two of them are in the 12 – 14 year old class. Sunday night is when they are in church with us. We attend evening service faithfully, so I see no need to keep them out of their classes on Sunday morning – espeically since my husband and I both teach in the 6 – 11 year old class and all the classes run the entire length of the adult service next door.

  37. Tricia K. says:

    I completely agree with your post! We feel the same way. We have received some unhappy looks when our children are in evening worship. We have visited a congregation that had a evening “Children’s Bible Hour” during the worship service. On one Sunday evening the children’s service was cancelled…. I was stunned to look around and see many of the children who normally attended bible hour playing with Nintendo DS, iPhones etc. What are these children really learning?

  38. I struggle with having my ‘older’ kids in church, but for different reasons than most. We have a wonderful CC program for 2-6 year olds. When my boys where young enough to participate, they came home with amazing amounts of information they had learned (ex. attributes of God type of stuff) which they could explain, verses they had learned, etc. Now that my older 2 are in ‘big’ church (they are 7 and 8), they are unable to share anything learned from the 2 hour service. They can sit still and look like they are paying attention, but they seem to have learned nothing. Meanwhile, the younger 2 girls (age 2 and 4) are learning loads of info from CC, which they can articulate. As a parents, I want my boys to hear and understand the word of God from someone in addition to myself (I homeschool). I do my best, but with 5 younger kids, I just can’t provide as much ‘meat’ as the CC curriculum provides. If our church had a sunday school program, or offered something at some other time to teach my older kids, I would be more than satisfied to have them sit in church with us. Ultimately, I don’t mind having the kids in church, but not at the expense of them learning the truths of scripture.

  39. I also wanted to add that I think it is important for every church to offer something appropriate for every age group, even if it’s not during the church service, as an outreach. In this culture, it is very hard to draw in new believers and keep them around if they feel they are on their own as far as teaching their children about God.

  40. Kristina Best says:

    When we make it to church my children go to children church if they choose. My sons don’t sit still or do they keep quiet. I wish I could do what you do with your children. I might try this the next time. Thank you for the confidence.

  41. We just had this issue come up! We were rebuked by our pastor because a guest speaker complained that our daughter was loud. We took her out but the whole way out she was quite loud…turns out she had strep throat. Good thing we didn’t take her to the nursery (our children are always in service with us)…anyway, we skipped several sunday’s because she took a long time to heal. When we returned many people that love us/our children told us they’d heard about the complaint (not sure how we never told anyone) and they supported us. I’m still scratching my head over it!

  42. Stephanie says:

    We keep our children with us (6,5,3,10 months). It’s an hour out of our week that I want us to spend together as a family. Our children are usually the only group of younger children in the service, as most go to Children’s Church. The older 3 are generally quite, but little kid rustling and moving still occurs. I think it stands out more, because they are the only ones. I do take the baby out, if he gets too loud. He likes to talk and is hard to hush, especially when people start turning around and smiling at him.

    I would love to hear more about getting children to participate in the service. I usually feel like I have encouraged staying quiet and still, instead of learning about their faith.

    • Sounds like our families are very similar (our kids 5,3,2,11mo) so I thought I would share a few ideas with you that are working for us. We have asked our Pastors and church staff for access to the coming week’s worship songs and sermon notes. We teach our kids the songs (and try to work through the big words/concepts found in them) during the week. During the singing time they are to try and sing with us, but at the very least they must stand with us -we save any writing, drawing, reading for during the sermon. We also use the sermon notes to help prep the kids for what they might hear -a sort of age appropriate introduction that also lets them hear some of the bigger words/concepts they will be hearing and read the Scriptures that are being taught. The final thing I do is to make up a worksheet for them to follow as they listen. Our current format is a 1/2 sheet of pictures (since we have no readers yet) that represent different things they will hear about during the sermon. Under each picture are several small boxes and they can cross one off each time they hear what that picture represents. They can also color the picture and try to copy the name of what it represents(which I type under it -so says we can’t work on fine motor skills in church? (; ). They do not listen attentively for the whole sermon yet but it helps them to focus for a time and begin learning how to learn from the preaching. Oh, and we have them each take their Bible every week and often they will ask us to help them find and follow along with the Scripture passage Pastor is preaching from (even though they can’t read,lol -glad they want to though!) Hope an idea or two here can be helpful for your family :)

  43. We don’t have Children’s Church, instead all families including children of all ages attend our worship services. Then after worship services (one hour looooong), they go to Primary (children’s classes) for two hours and the adults go to Sunday School and then either Relief Society (women) or Priesthood (men). I wish we had a children’s church during worship services, but since I’m content on being Mormon I do not see that happening in the near future for us since the churches do it the same way everywhere. I’ll read your tips on keeping kids quiet and still though–I need help!

  44. We do half/half. I actually teach children’s church downstairs, so I bring the girls (3 and 4) down with me. However, we do definitely participate fully in worship before it is time to go downstairs. My girls are actually up front dancing and worshiping the entire time. We use the time to teach them to hear God’s voice, to listen to the words being sung (we sung Our God by Chris Tomlin this week and my youngest was overjoyed to hear the song that Daddy had been playing during his time with God earlier that morning), and to listen to the words that God has to say to us during that time. Both girls have made a conscious decision to invite Jesus into their hearts and lives, so they participate in communion with us where we explain the reason why we practice this and they pray with us as we partake.

    Also, our children’s church is definitely not just a convenient babysitting place whilst we get fed. My oldest is actually going through a kid’s version of our Vision and Commitment class that explains everything from the gospel and salvation to being baptized in water, and even such big concepts as grace and participating in church life broken down in 4 year old terms, but no less powerful than what everyone at our church goes through. She brings home a notebook that is the basis for our bible curriculum during the week. So, I guess, in a way, it depends on what is available for the kids. Those are my thoughts, at least, and the decision that I have made for my family.

  45. My boys are 21 and 18, but we did the same thing in bringing them into the worship service. I am with you that it is a “teachable” time. They do learn how to behave – that is if the parents pay attention to the – as you do. It is refreshing to hear a mother – in this day and time – to be training her children in the way they should go.

  46. We attend a church that has a full children’s program during both the worship service hour and the Sunday School hour. We have chosen to keep our children (5,3,2,11mo) in the worship service with us and then we all attend age group classes the second hour. For us it is not so much a choice to move away from something (children’s church, Sunday School, childcare, etc.) as a move toward something -family worship with the body of Christ. We believe that worshipping and learning as the body of Christ is appropriate and beneficial for the whole family, even those who may seem too young to understand.
    It is hard work -we spend time during the week teaching our kids the songs that will be sung and what they mean as well as talking through Pastor’s sermon notes at their level to help prepare them for what they will be hearing. I also make up worksheets they can use during the sermon from his notes. One of us (sometimes both of us) often end up having to leave with one or two of the youngest children but that is part of what parenting is -sacrificing our needs/wants for the good of our children. There is SO much I can learn from any given sermon even if I don’t catch every word… God’s word and Spirit are more than capable of “filling” in the rest for me.
    I must also say that although we are the only family in our church that practices family worship as we do we have received very positive feedback from our church family. Many many older brothers and sisters in Christ encourage us on a regular basis about keeping our kids in worship with us and many of our peers say they think it is neat and wish they could do it. What a blessing to be a part of a Church family that encourages each to worship as they feel lead by the Lord!

  47. Oh, God bless you. I haven’t been brave enough to take the twin babies into the sanctuary yet. We’ve just been hanging out together in the nursery, since they’re both nursing and I haven’t been brave enough to leave them behind either.

  48. Wow! It is eye opening to me to see the many different church services. I attend a large church with a fabulous programs for ages 2 – grade 12 during the sermon. All the kids are with us during the singing time then are dismissed right before the sermon begins. One thing I really took from this post is that they are teaching their children to behave properly and that the world is not all about them. I can see how this discipline would serve you well in so many other areas. Like many others, it bothers me to see children (and adults!) playing on the iPhones or with toys throughout the service. I think I would like my (future) children to learn to be still and take something out of the sermon. Thanks for the food for thought.

  49. We attend a liturgical Lutheran church that does not offer a Children’s Church, therefore, the congregation is understanding and welcome of children in the service. We would not take them if it was offered, however, for many of the reasons you listed and a few more. It amazed me that at 18 months (he is now 27 months), my son started singing and saying part of the liturgy. He may not understand what he is saying/singing right now, but he will someday. For one short period every week, they can listen to topics that are above there level and I only see how that can benefit them. Children are sponges at this age!

    I understand that children will have a hard time sitting for 1 1/2 hours, but they can learn, without ‘discipline’ but by correcting behavior and following the example that is set. My 11 month old is a handful – as can be expected from that age – but we will continue to keep her in worship with us, leaving the sanctuary if she gets too loud for too long. We sit as close to the front as possible and have an expectation of the behaviors that should occur yet understand that they are young and will not behave that way all the time. Each family is different, I understand, but I would not trade our worship time as a family and church ‘family’ for much of anything.

  50. I am a mom of ten, and grammom to nearly eight. I also teach the 1st grade class during the second hour of church. Many of those kids are @ church from 9:00 AM to nearly 1:00 PM. I teach a lesson (we use MacArthur’s curriculum), and it is simply amazing how those kids retain what they’ve learned. I am so thankful that God is @ work in their lives. While it is not my responsibility to change their hearts (not to mention that I have no power to do so), I praise God that week after week as I review, they are able to answer questions correctly about prior lessons. However, we do a craft every week, and it is one that pertains to the lesson (think the “Sodom and Gomorrah” book–cheery, upbeat stuff, I tell ya!). We go outside to play, as well, but the focal point of our time in teaching and craft time is Christ. My husband, who is a high school AP and Honors Chemistry teacher will often bring in a demo to make a spiritual application–or just to illustrate that God made science, and we can appreciate that. At the end of the year (before the kids move on to the next class), we make ice cream (which has no spiritual application whatsoever…well, perhaps we can make one! : )) and make silly putty balls–it’s a sort of celebration of the end of the year…but it’s after the lesson.

    I guess I don’t understand why it’s wrong to do crafts and/or allow the kids to stretch their legs outside. Our pastor teaches for an hour+, so the kids are w/me nearly two hours.

    In Nehemiah, when the book of the law was being read, the people were listening to a chronology of their nation, and were grief-stricken over their sin. Nehemiah told the people to rejoice, for the joy of the Lord was their strength. They were instructed to “enjoy choice foods and sweet drinks,” and the passage says that they celebrated the festival for seven days. During that time, the book of the law was read, and it was read to “men and women and all who could understand what they heard.” I wonder where the children were. Perhaps the Lord knew that they wouldn’t be able to understand, and they weren’t at the service.

    Finally, last Sunday, we had a case of church discipline. It was done right before communion. Is this age-appropriate? Would you take your kids out of the service for those kinds of things? How ’bout the book of Song of Solomon? Would that be something that you would want your kids to hear from the pulpit–or from you @ home?

    Just my thoughts…

    These are just my thoughts.

    • I don’t think it’s wrong to do crafts! I volunteer at our church’s midweek toddler group, and we have found it really helpful to make a craft which links to the story, so the kids can hold up what they’ve made, or just have a visual aid to the story which is being told. My concern (at least in our church) was that the focus was simply on the crafts and games and “having lots of fun”. The attitude seemed to be more of “Let’s do something to keep the kids out of the way so the parents can worship in peace” rather than being concerned for the actual discipling of the children and helping them to worship and know Jesus. The focus was always learning *about* Jesus rather than allowing them to know Him themselves. I know that might seem like a small, picky difference, but as I myself grew up knowing all the right answers to my Sunday school teachers without it changing my life at all, I really felt it.

      For us, the attitude was summed up in the fact that one of the Sunday School teachers wasn’t even a born again believer. That just said to me, this church is in the business of simply entertaining the kids, with no real concern for their spiritual growth.

  51. We attend 4 or more services per week. There is a mixture of both children in service, and children worshipping in children’s service. I think in this case, depending how faithful you are in worshipping with your local body of like-minded believers, you can have your cake and eat it, too!

    We have a Sunday School program in which families read a portion of Scripture at home each week (we are working on reading through the Bible for SS in 3 years). We work through a book of the Bible over a couple of weeks, with questions to direct family worship, and then meet together Sunday morning. Each Sunday school teacher is prepared to teach that same portion of Scripture, so every class is learning the same material, each at his own age level.

    Other services, the children sit in. Some are geared toward all ages, with the pastor keeping in mind the ages in the audience, others are geared to the adults, with children listening in, and gleaning what their young minds are able to understand. Another service the children have their own Junior Church program. But it is not playtime. It is an actual worship service geared toward the young ones.

    I am so thankful for a local group of like-minded believers. My children are thoroughly comfortable with all age groups. They can converse as easily with a 70 year old man as an 8 year old girl. They are learning how to be godly adults by watching a large number of adults serve the Lord with varying spiritual gifts. All throughout the New Testament, we are commanded and encouraged to spend large amounts of time with fellow brother and sister believers. While there are many references to parents training children, there are so many more about life as a body of believers. My children have a responsibility to submit to my husband’s and my authority, but as New Testament believers, they are also to submit to the authority of the elders of our church. What a godly group of men my children have to submit to! I’m so thankful that, while the burden of training our children rests with me (and my husband, of course), and we take that VERY seriously (daily family worship, homeschooling), we don’t have to shoulder it entirely alone. God has intended for us to be intimately involved in a family of believers, so we are not unaware of our own blind spots (Hebrews 10:21-25), and so that we can grow together in our service for the Lord!

  52. christina says:

    It is interesting to see how others do things. Here is how our church does it. We meet on Sunday mornings and have an opening before sunday school. We have studied our sunday school lessons all week together as a family and discussed it. We also have daily family devotions to feed our little lambs. After sunday school we all meet in church and worship together. Our nursery is a quiet and darkened room for nursing and rocking little ones, it has a speaker and one way window so that the mothers may still listen. The fathers with little ones rarely need to go out of the service, but if they do they can go to the library or outside. By the time a child is two or three they can sit still for the entire service. If they are too rambunctious and the mother is stressed, one of the older ladies will take the child and sit with them. We have evening church, and wednesday Bible study. We have singing Fridays and Sewing Tuesdays. We have our own schools for church members children, and if anyone needs anything we all pull together and help. No one complains if a child makes noise in church, we have all been there and many quick prayers go up for the parent to have patience and wisdom and love in training their little one. We do have bible school once a year. There are Bible classes, singing, worship, recess and snacks. We all enjoy it very much.

    • christina says:

      I forgot to add that we have members meetings for church discipline or sensitive subjects. Only baptized members go to these meetings, so the children stay home unless they are young enough to still be nursing. (my husband and I take turns)

    • wow this sounds so sweet and gracious!

  53. We do send ours. Our children’s curch is called Bible Hour and is only on Sunday nights after we worship with song, prayer and communion. It is for ages 2-5 and consists of singing, prayer, bible lesson, reinforecment of lesson with puppets, and craft or coloring–exactly like Sunday morning bible class. There is no bible hour on Sunday mornings once classes are over. Everyone worships together. On Wednesday after classes everyone has devotional together. i like bible Hour because they learn so much and it isn’t playtime. I also like that it is not on Sunday mornings so the family can be together. But we do not make our kids go. They can if they want unless it is our turn to teach it, then we all go. Church should be about offering our worship to God and training our kids to do the same. And I agree with the lady who said if you are so concerned over what others think, the focus might be off, if you are doing what you feel is best for your family. Keep it up. We all get to make those decisions and it is odd to me that some think they should all be exactly the same. There really is no direct scripture on this and whatever choice we make we are all trying to train our children in the way they should go. And may God bless all of us as we raise them.

  54. First I want to say that balance is a key to everything in our lives. I have nothing but praise to the Lord in my heart for the balance that exists in our church.
    On Sunday mornings there age leveled sunday school classes for 2 years old until 9th grade, all those 9th and above meet in the main auditorium for adult Bible study.
    For the main service there is children’s church provided for ages 2 – 3rd grade. This is a major blessing. It is run well, not crafts and snacks and craziness. It is very Bible focused, but on the level of the children, systematically works through the Bible, not just relying on the 12 most popular Bible stories, encourages Bible memory, songs are truly worshipful – not rocky, worldly, without substance, and there are often object lessons to reinforce a point.
    Each week a seminary student or graduate who has not yet taken a church or determined where God would have him serve, actually preaches a sermon to the children on their level. His sermon is based on their memory verse for that week. This mimics in a productive way what is going on in the adult service as well, and the children are able to hear many different manly voices reinforcing what their parents have been teaching them, which has been extremely beneficial to our children.
    It is also exciting to them when one of those young preachers gets sent to their mission field or takes a church, as they have a personal connection to that ministry through hearing the man preach – he isn’t a stranger to them. Therefore the children learn early to pray for missionaries and pastors diligently at an early age, and it puts it in their mind that kind of work is not weird, but a high calling – maybe one day God would want me to do that also?
    I am both a Sunday School teacher, and am involved in the children’s church once every six weeks. This is balance also, so the same people aren’t always serving in another class and missing the Word they need to grow themselves.
    My husband and I are able to work for the Lord together that once every six weeks, so it has grown our relationship, serving Him together, and we have time to really put together a powerful presentation of our topic and bathe it in prayer. It is set up so no one has to feel they have no option but to slop something together at the last minute.
    We have a nursery provided for infant until age 2, and have a pager system so the mom, if she has her baby on a schedule, or absolutely must be called, can slip out quietly and without notice.
    On Sunday evenings all children ages 2 and up stay in the services with their families. On Wednesday evenings they do so also, and a family prayer time is incorporated into the service between some singing of old fashioned hymns, a giving of prayer requests time, and a practical for Christian growth sermon following.
    Here are some reasons I am so glad there is balance, and I am thankful for our children’s church and sunday school classes:
    1. While the church services are to be primarily focused on Christians, when a lost person sees a need for spiritual help, they will often visit a church on a Sunday morning. Therefore, my pastor makes the main service every Sunday morning a straight gospel sermon. We have tons of visitors -meaning not members- every week, because we live in a town with a state university and an Air Force Base. In this service it is wise to keep the distractions to a minimum, as many who visit are not ‘churched’ people, and seemingly little noises can disrupt in a big way. Therefore, catering to the ‘seeker’ in that service is a good thing.
    2. On the theme of visitors, there are so many single moms and dads and a great number of families who, the only time they really try to control their kids is when they visit a church service. As being one of the couples in our church who follows up on visitors who have visited, I know for fact that often these never come back to a church to hear more because they were so busy trying to make their kids behave, they hardly caught any of the sermon, so they figure ‘what a waste of time.’ We don’t want to encourage that kind of a desperate feeling during a salvation oriented gospel message – we want to afford them the environment to give full attention. Once they know Christ, they will see the need to help their kids behave, but frankly, that is not the most pressing need in light of eternity if they are not even sure of their relationship with Christ.
    3. I feel the kids are getting the best of both worlds. They know how to sit still and focus all through a sermon, funeral, wedding, lecture, orchestra concert, play, etc. because they are trained to do so for church on Sunday evening and Wednesday evening. Yet they are also able to soak in the Bible on their own level on Sunday morning and at home devotions.
    4. It is a command of God to not forsake the assembly, so all the members of our church are pretty fair to others as they all see littles grow from not sitting very quietly to sitting well within a year or so after they turn two because there aren’t many members who only come for Sunday morning and neglect the other times we meet.
    Anyway, sorry to be all long winded about this. I am just excited about how our church does things because I see extremes on either side of this issue, and hear of them often, but God has truly blessed us in our situation. Each time this subject is brought up, though, I am reminded to pray for those families who don’t have it so good.

  55. I read a book called Parentng in the Pew and really love one of the points it made. Our attitude should not be, “Ugh, I have to take my children into big church,” but it should be, “Lord, I’d like to introduce you to my children.”

  56. I read a book called Parenting in the Pew and really love one of the points it made. Our attitude should not be, “Ugh, I have to take my children into big church,” but it should be, “Lord, I’d like to introduce you to my children.”

  57. Really like reading all the comments. I’ve been debating on taking my daughter to big church to see how she does one Sunday. She is almost 4. Some reasons I haven’t is- my husband does not go to church with us and so I’d need to find someone for her to sit with while I’m in the choir loft for the first half of the service, which isn’t impossible, but I have a feeling it could get tricky with her seeing me up there but not sitting with me. They do have a good children’s program and have a bible lesson and music time. I also need this time to worship and focus on the sermon myself. Lately I’m thinking about trying it maybe 1x/month, to see how it’d work and get the best of all worlds.

  58. we don’t use children’s church for a number of reasons. God convicted my husband that we should worship together as a family – he wanted our kids to see what the adults do rather than sending them out for the majority of the service as if they did not belong there. I found it really sad that the kids would arrive, have their 10-minute slot and then go to Sunday School, get shushed when they came back in, not be allowed to go and join their parents in case they disturbed people.

    More specifically to our church, we were concerned about the attitude of learning *about* Jesus rather than getting to know Him and worship Him. The focus (particularly for the younger ones) is doing crafts, reading Bible stories and having lots of fun – none of those things bad in themselves, but if our kids were doing that there would be no real distinction between Sunday worship and normal toddler groups/ weekday activities. Plus at least one of the teachers was not a born again believer, which makes it hard for them to be discipling my kids!

    Since making the decision to keep our kids with us, we have begun to wonder if maybe the problem is that we are “doing church” wrong. I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where the believers were sitting in rows for 1.5-2 hours, in silence except for a bit of singing or reciting pre-planned words *ducks to avoid flying tomatoes* :) I definitely believe in training kids to sit still and listen, and I’m not saying people can’t learn anything or worship God in a more traditional church setting. But if our meetings looked more like 1Corinthians 14, for example, and were a lot more participatory, rather than a few people leading from the front, then a lot of the issues we have with kids in church would just no longer exist. An 8-yr-old asking a question is a lot less intrusive if everyone is allowed to ask questions, and it’s easier to include everyone (and sort out conflicts) if you are in a smaller gathering, as some ladies above have mentioned.

    We’re only half-way through figuring this out, so don’t yell at me if you think I’ve got it completely wrong, k?!

  59. I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. We don’t have anything like children’s church. We all meet together, and it’s that way in every Kingdom Hall all over the world. Little ones are taught to sit and be quiet and participate in whatever way they can in Bible studies (looking at pictures in Bible Story books, taking “notes” on talks even if that means a checkmark on a piece of paper by Jesus’ name or whatever, etc). Loud or crying children are walked into another part of the Hall for discipline or nursing or whatever, or taken outside for a bit of fresh air. By the time they’re about 3 they’re usually getting much out of the Bible study.

  60. My church has nursery & children’s church for kids up to about 6 years old; most parents use them, but some don’t. We had been using them most of the time, and were using our evening church service to start teaching the children to sit quietly in church.

    We had actually planned to have our 3-year-old in the “preschool room” during morning church this year, but she was turned away because of overcrowding and her birthday being past the cutoff. We knew that she was really too big to be in an unstructured “nursery” (0-2 year olds) for 1.5 hours during church – so after much prayer, we decided to keep her with us in church as much as possible. She’s our oldest, so it can be tough, especially when I have to go out to nurse the baby (we don’t have a typical “cry room”, and older children are not allowed in our “mother’s room”) or when my husband can’t sit with us.

    The baby is 10 months old now. Generally, I keep him in the service with us for the first 1/2 hour or so, then once I nurse him, I put him in the nursery if he is still awake. It allows me to focus more on the sermon and be free to help the 3-year-old.

  61. I posted earlier but I wanted to follow up with another comment. By having children’s ministries, it allows families to invite other children to attend church with them (like neighbor kids or kids from school). The kids would feel more comfortable in a kid’s class than an adult service (and will hear the Word on a level they can understand). We have one neighbor girl who is 12 and lives with her grandparents. We have invited her to events at our church before but she hasn’t come yet. I think if she were to come, she would come with us and not with her grandparents, so the CC is vital and can be viewed as an outreach tool for our communities and not a “free babysitting service”.

  62. I guess with my background and experience in Early Childhood Education/Development AND being a parent, it seems odd to me to attempt to make a 2 year old sit quietly for an hour and a half because I want her to “learn how to be an adult”. I think that an age appropriate lesson and environment should be provided so that she can actually know who God is and how good He is on HER level, not mine. She’s only two, not thirty. As she grows, it will change. But I know that sitting in the sanctuary with my Grandmother, and “listening” to the pastor did not truly become relevant to me until I was in my teens.

  63. Hi there! I just discovered your blog recently and am loving it! I have 7 children, 4 biological and 3 adopted (and praying for more!)

    This topic has been on my heart for the past several years. When we were new to attending church, we were so happy and excited to see all the programs offered at our church, but as we matured in our faith, we came to see the value of keeping our children with us during the service. They do listend, even the 4yo will ask questions afterwards! Just in the past 5 years did we stop putting our kids in church programs (we do let them attend the summer VBS program,and they love it) . At our previous church, we were always questioned why our kids were not in all the programs. Now we are in a much smaller church with only a sunday school,and all the kids sit through the services. It’s nice that we dont’ have to feel “pressured” to put our kids in children’s church now.

  64. We are finally (after 10 years of keeping our children with us while everyone else’s went to children’s church) attending a church where every child stays with their parents during the service. We feel that our children are with us all week, learning from us. Why would we want to spend the most important time of our week separated? Not only are we worshiping as a complete family, we are also worshiping as a complete church family.

  65. We used Children’s Bible Hour (our “children’s church”) when our daughter was unable to sit through services. It did not even begin until right before the sermon, and we only allowed her to go when she wanted to and she could not sit with us for the entire service. With her special needs, there were a couple of years that the first half hour (plus a few more minutes) was all she could sit through. When we visited other churches without children’s services, she would jump up and down and literally not be able to sit still, much more distracting than paper rustling and whispering (if you do not have a child with special needs, this may be hard to understand how it could happen, but we did discipline her-it just didn’t have any affect at the time). Giving her the option of Children’s Bible Hour helped her learn that sitting in church services was a positive experience. Even though ours goes up to 2nd grade (and will accept older if they want to come), after 1st grade, our daughter chose to stay with us through the entire service. Without that option, I think she would have thought of services as being a big negative, and I did not want that. I think you have to know your child.

  66. No. Even if children’s church had been a thing when our kids were at that age, we wouldn’t have used it. We believe that, when we go to a place to worship with others, God intends for all of us to be together. Aside from that, we are also in the camp who believe they are capable of learning the proper way to behave when others are trying to worship. We taught them to respect those around them and if they “slipped”, we took them out and came back in when they were quiet.

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