Take Your Children to Big Church!

Take Your Children to Big Church!

On my post Raising Godly Children Isn’t Left to Chance, I received a very wise comment. Churches these days seem to be all about entertaining the masses. It’s difficult in this electronic age full of people seeking pleasure to have a normal church service where the Word of God is taught but it’s so very important, women. Our children need to learn that they don’t need to be entertained all of the time. Being quiet and still is a great thing to teach them from a young age. Here is the comment from a wise, older woman.

“I know opinions are not worth much, but as an older mom I would like to share some advice with parents that depend on the church nurseries, children’s church, and youth groups to solely teach their children during church services. Over the years, I’ve seen very good involved parents never take their babies and children into ‘grown up church.’

“Children need to be in the same service with their parents on a regular basis to see grown ups’ enthusiasm for worshiping and learning about God. They do learn best by example. I see many parents at my church going through the anguish of the 18-20 something year old children leaving church for more entertaining things because the parents put them in church nursery as babies and they moved up through children’s church into youth group and now that they are 18 years old and going to ‘grown up church’ for the first time in their lives, it’s just not entertaining enough so they have left church to find more entertaining things to do.

“Children’s church and youth groups have some value but they should be supplemental only. They should not be the only church services our future generations ever see. Take your babies and children into ‘big church’ more than you put them in nursery and youth group. Teach them by example to go to big church with reverence, respect, and excitement for worshiping God with fellow believers.”

 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

21 thoughts on “Take Your Children to Big Church!

  1. In our church, youth are expected to worship with the adults, beginning in 7th grade. They have middle/high school Bible Fellowship classes (Sunday School) during the first hour-Biblical, Gospel-driven lessons, not a “program”. Their worship through singing is within the adult service. In first-6th grade, the children spend the first half of the service with their parents, for announcements, offertory, worship through singing, etc. They are dismissed for Kids’ Worship during the pastor’s message, but not forced. I’ve witnessed that teaching time-it’s not a flashy “program” or mini church, but an age appropriate Biblical, Gospel-centered lesson.

    Children’s Bible Fellowship (Sunday School) is offered during the first hour as well. For our family, this gradual introduction to the service has been a blessing. When every element of Sunday morning classes/worship are separated into age groups, it can feel like we all scatter when we walk through the door-especially if we’re involved in volunteer ministry (my husband helps with sound, ushering, etc.). I agree with the original comment that Lori posted, but it can be executed in a way that children can learn at developmental levels appropriate for their age.
    We also believe that introduction to serving in the church is important as children get older. I know some larger church’s can afford to hire techs, but ours is full staffed by volunteers. It’s great to see the high school boys beginning to use their gifts to serve in that ministry.

    Thank you, Lori, for yesterday’s post on women learning in silence. I’ve been convicted to listen a lot more in discussions with my husband and in our small group study, made up of couples. Actually, more listening, less talking is a practice that works well in every facet of life.

    1. That sounds like an excellent compromise. Our kids come to “big church” with us (the only alternative is a nursery usually used by the 2-and-under crowd), and although they enjoy the singing and other participatory sections their eyes really glaze over during the long prayer, Scripture reading, and sermon. I hope that greater appreciation will come with age, but I do worry that they’re being taught that church is a boring, painful experience instead of a time of spiritual refreshment and joyful communal worship of our God.

      This issue is hard for me. I was raised in a house of unbelievers, and only started attending church regularly when I was 8 or so; we had Sunday School and then “Big Church” for the next service, but each service was 90 minutes or less and the sermons rather less dense than those of my current church.

      I also enjoyed youth group and youth services a great deal, and they helped me form good principles, especially about relating to the opposite sex. Although they were indeed gimmicky at times and the music rather overemotional, they helped me feel connected to my community in Christ and provided short-term missions opportunities.

      A church that jettisons sound teaching in order to be “seeker-sensitive” or whatever is doomed. A church that offers nothing but pap provides no great opportunity for spiritual growth. Nevertheless, I think there are healthy churches that separate out age groups, and may even use contemporary worship songs.

    1. Yes, Regina. When my husband and I first moved to Puerto Rico and were seeking a church home, one of the churches we attended was so adamant that I put my two young boys in their age-level classes (they would have been separated from me AND each other according to the structure in the church). When I refused, they told me I needed to sit with them in a separate, freezing cold room with a glass partition looking into the sanctuary If I wanted to listen to the sermon with them by my side. That was the last time we attended that church.

  2. I attended church with the JW’s for s few years. They did not/ do not have a separate church/ Sunday school for their children. They had a room separate for you to feed babies but children were taught with the adults and encouraged to participate as the adults do. This made a positive impression on me and when I attend my local baptist church, I do not send my children out with the others. They learn from the pastor alongside me as a family. I have had some “questioning looks”, but no one has verbally questioned me- not that I wouldn’t be more than happy to explain my reason.
    So personally, I would encourage all Christians to do away with separate church for children.

  3. My children were always in “Big Church” from the time they were born. When my 2 oldest were 5 & 7 we had a house fire during church and lost almost everything. They were crying and very upset.

    I still remember as I was heading to the house and leaving them at church with friends, leaning down in front of them and telling them, “God is just as sovereign today as he was a month ago. He knows what He is doing, it’s going to be okay.”

    I watched as their faces instantly turned happy again, and they never had any other issues.

    This was during a time when my husband wasn’t a believer and wasn’t teaching his family. But they were in church and hearing the deep teaching of a good pastor. I didn’t realize until that moment that all those sermons were going deep into the heart of very young children, and that deep truths could be grasped when they were needed. Please, please keep your children in church with you!

  4. Makes sense but I have an honest question. How old is a good time to start putting your child in church? I have two boys and they are 3.5 and 21 months old. They just won’t sit still! Ok they’d sit still to watch a tv show lol but we have tried church and they are loud and want to run around. Then I feel as a parent I can’t listen and concentrate on the sermon. I was thinking of taking my kids out of nursery only because they keep getting sick and bringing germs home! Seriously we have been dead sick for two weeks now.

    Our church does have a separate room they use with a screen to have parents sit with their children as a training ground, but I don’t like it in there since I feel isolated from the main part of the body. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    1. I say use the separate room to have them practice still. Make it 10 minutes at first and gradually make it longer and longer. When they can sit relatively still for the whole service, take them in there! I don’t have any problems giving them little books to read and snacks to eat while they are young to keep them occupied.

    2. I would train my children (starting as babies) to sit still during the week while I listened to John MacArthur’s sermons on Grace to You. Not only was I getting fed daily, but my children learned self-control. This easily transferred to church on Sundays. At one point I had a four year old, two year old and newborn twins. When the twins were fussy during church, my “big” kids could stay quietly in church while I took the babies out. It has been a tremendous blessing to our family to persevere in this!

  5. I personally love seeing children in church. I’ve known families who always had their children in church with them and their children are well behaved too.

    On a side note Lori your post Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got and the song was stuck in my head. Just to make you giggle I was dog sitting at my friends house and she had a
    a one panel cartoon clip on her fridge called Rubes or something like that.
    In the clip the doctor tells the patient who has his head wrapped in bandages. The doctor tells the patient that he successfully removed the tune that was stuck in his head. The doctor has a jar full of musical notes. I nearly fell down laughing!

  6. Excellent post. At the Catholic Church here my favorite thing to do is watch the well-behaved children stand nicely by their parents.

    I always point it out to my husband, because it’s so cute!

  7. So true. Our church doesn’t even have a youth group or anything, we are all together, from babies to the very old. Children don’t need “age-appropriate” Bible lessons. The spirit of God can draw near to them and teach them just as they are, meeting together at God’s feet, with us.

  8. My sister, who has 4 young children under 6, attended a new church after moving and encountered church staff that very aggressively pushed her to keep her children in the nursery during service. She demurred. She and her husband assumed it was a fluke for that week and attended the next week and it happened again, and they decided they weren’t interested in a church that wasn’t willing to allow children in service.

    My husband and I have always kept our kids with us through service. They are all 4 and under and sit very well. Not perfect, but very well. I really am not a fan of nurseries, youth groups, etc. I want to know what theology my kids are being taught and am also concerned with sexual abuse that goes on behind closed doors. Taboo to talk about, but it happens.

  9. Sadly many churches are so full of erroneous teaching and self-centered people that their only worth is their entertainment value. And quite frankly you can find far more entertaining things to do, or maybe catch up on your sleep. The vast majority of churches are apostate and teach falsehoods including a false gospel. Those who truly want Christian fellowship will seek it out all week long. Often at sites like this one. And the Bible is the best book for getting to know God correctly. And the Holy Spirit or your husband will be your best spiritual teachers. Your home should become a church, a gathering of believers.

    John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    Many are trying to “worship” in the flesh at a house of lies with a steeple. I’d rather meet and fellowship in spirit with serious Christians who are seeking the uncomfortable truth of God’s word all week long, a remnant from all over the world, who come seeking the rare and difficult truth online at sites like this one.
    Matthew 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

    And while we are meeting, I’d like to beg you to pray for my wife’s repentance. Thank you.

  10. Our daughter could never cope with a full meeting due to her autism. The number of times we had to go into the foyer!! Parents whose kids are able to sit stillfor a 2 hour meeting are very lucky

  11. Sunday school in my church happens during service, but not the entire year. So, my children have a period of time during the year when they are consistently with me in service, and I use this time to train them. Personally, I’d prefer that the Sunday school be outside church services, but I certainly have the option of keeping them in the “big church.” And when I do, all the adults (my congregation is mostly retired folks – unfortunately younger generations are woefully absent) are so welcoming; even when I occasionally suffer one of my kids’ getting “ants in the pants,” (the 4-yr-old is still learning), everyone is so forgiving and tell me they LOVE seeing my little ones with me and to never feel bad if they occasionally struggle to be quiet, as they are just so overjoyed to have youth present and worshiping with us. I’m sorry to read about those who deal with opposition to their children’s presence at service; having that encouragement from the congregation really helps me relax with the pressure or any impending guilt if my children cause a distraction. It’s definitely a process, but there is much to be gained by it! Please, anyone who doesn’t have little ones in church, be patient with us who are still training ours! It’s such a light to know that we are wanted, and it helps us want to try again! God bless!

  12. All Churches should accept children and actively encourage parents to bring their children to services and to be taught. But parents should also bring up their children to be polite and respectful. Children should be dressed appropriately and taught to behave properly. With the parents setting an example.

    It does take time and effort and we have all failed on occasion but it is one of the most important aspects of parenting.

  13. I really like the idea of this and I do agree. I wouldn’t leave my child with anyone else to watch over her. Churches, unfortunately, are often THE place for certain weirdos to seek out to prey on trusting people. I think I’ve heard that the Duggars and the Pearls have their own church services and do not attend a “regular” church. It makes me wonder if I should even find a church home or just have our own family church time? I would like to hear your thoughts. We travel often and, before the birth of our baby, attended many churches all over the country. We almost attended the church in Texas the same day the mass shooting occurred. Which is another problem. But at other churches there were women preaching at some, and what felt like rock concerts at others, etc. I know there isn’t perfection any place but it sure turns me off of attending church. Looking for your wisdom is all. Thanks
    🙂

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