Sunday, February 17, 2008

Children in Worship

What does your church "do with children" during worship.  I currently serve in a setting where Sunday School meets at the same time as the worship services.  A few of our families stay for a few hours so kids may attend both SS and worship.  The vast majority are there for an hour. The Parents worship while kids go to SS.  This changes at Jr. High when SS begins meeting in between the services--an apparent indication that middle school kids are ready for worship.  However, even most of our Jr. and Sr. high kids end up serving as an aid in the sunday school and end up neither attending worship, nor (for some of them) attending a sunday school hour.  When should kids begin worshiping?  (I'll share my thoughts on a later post).


Joe said...

We have "family tables" in the back of the room for children to ebb and flow in and out of the seated area during worship. It is a contemporary setting for worship, so the children sing and pray in the seats and then after a children's time in worship they are free to go to the family tables and color, etc. during the message. They never leave the room and the congregation is open about any disruptions because children are a major part of our discipleship program.

Pastor Blue Jeans said...

Eric I don't know what the "right" answer is. I just know that it is a tough question. I think it is vital for the children to feel part of the worshipping church, I think how, when, and where that happens is all very contextual.

I think what Joe does at his church is great.

for so long, it seems, the children were through to be an afterthought. It is so important to help them feel a part of the church family, because they are. It is also important for the church to help the whole body learn together to find a place.

I know this is vague, but I really think the whys and hows are so dependent upon you situation.

klh said...

This is an issue that has become near and dear to my heart. Children learn what they live. If they grow up excluded from worship because "they won't get anything out of it" or "it isn't geared toward them" or "they are so disruptive," then they learn (1) the focus in worship is upon me getting something out of it rather than upon God, (2) there is no reason to attend worship if it is not specifically geared toward you and if you aren't, by your standards, 'getting something out of it', and (3) church is a potentially unwelcoming place, depending upon your behavior. In my church children are not welcome in worship until the age of 12, and I can see that after they turn 12 most of them continue to do what they were doing before they turned 12 as much as possible - they become Sunday School aids or help in the nursery.