Friday, September 20, 2013

Worshipping with Children

There’s no doubt that worshipping with children (especially young ones) can be stressful. As a pastor, one of the things I love best is seeing children in worship, but as a parent, one of the things that makes me sweat most is getting my kids through a whole worship service. Granted, most Sundays, it is Thomas who has this responsibility and he does great, but he definitely doesn’t get a lot out of the sermon on those days!

In my church, I recently made up bookmarks to put in our pews about having children in worship. They start out by saying, we believe having children in worship is like having children at the dinner table; they are there because they are part of the family. I love this saying because I think it’s really important that families worship together as often as possible. I believe that faith is caught, not taught, meaning that as much as children learn in Sunday school and places like that, they learn the most about faith and life from watching their parents. As challenging as it can sometimes be to worship with children, over time, the “payoff” for the wriggling in worship is that children will grow to know they belong there, and they will stand in the midst of the church with a faith of their own.

If you are a parent of small children, here are some things you can do when it comes to making worshiping with your children a possible experience:
  • Arrive early to find a good seat.
  • Give your child something to put in the offering plate.
  • Bring something quiet to occupy them.
  • Demonstrate how to sing familiar refrains, fold hands, etc.
If you are a congregation member, here are some things you can do to welcome and be hospitable towards families with young kids:
  • Remember the commitment we as a congregation made to the children in our midst.
  • Remember that children do not participate in the same way adults do; they wiggle and laugh and make noise, but are growing in understanding at the same time.
  • Introduce yourself to children you do not know (and their parents).
  • Invite families with small children to sit with you so that you may assist with bottles, dropped toys, and teaching kids to worship.
  • Hand offering plates to children, not over their heads.
  • Help children pick up a children’s bulletin and/or activity bag as they enter the sanctuary.
God bless you as you seek to live out your call to pass on faith in Jesus to your children!

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