Why I Want My Kids with Me in Worship

by GfG on June 27, 2013 · 4 comments

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There are more than a few reasons I want my children with me in worship, not sent off to do their own thing.  I haven’t always felt this way, but once the idea(s) were introduced, I was sold.

We will be joining a church here soon.  That’s a pretty big deal to me.  After eighteen years in the same wonderful one, it’s been difficult to decide a church home.  I really wanted a family integrated church, but it wasn’t in the “must have” category.  It was in the “would really like” category.  While it’s true that doctrine came before family integration, a “must have” was that children would be welcome in worship.  We would not attend a church that was for adults only.  Why?

Reasons I want my kids with me in church/corporate worship:

Our family’s chief end is to love God and serve Him forever.  Refusing to include corporate worship in that is counter intuitive to our goal.  If we do anything together, it should be worship!  If we do anything together with our local church, it should be worship.

Sitting silent and still is not the most important task in church/corporate worship.  While yes, we do train on how to sit still and not be distracting, that isn’t the most important activity in church: worship is.  While they are learning to glean from corporate worship what they can, it’s my job to equip them for that. If I make silent and still the only task, I am falling short.

There are plenty of beautiful activities to learn in corporate worship: singing and praying are the two that even young children can learn early.  More on this down the list.

I want my children to watch and participate as they can in corporate prayer with adult Christians.  Sure, they probably do that in children’s church or Sunday School, but as we all know, a larger group of adult Christians praying in unity is a much different thing.  As parents, we desire that our children see adults doing valuable things, worship and corporate prayer are on that list.

I desire that my children see and participate in corporate singing with adult Christians.  Same as above really, plus, how delightful is it to hear a child’s voice among adults?  Pretty stinkin’ delightful.

us in church EDIT WEB

We can not know what children are really getting out of worship and we shouldn’t assume it’s nothing!  Deciding that they get nothing out of “grown up church” is crazy.  We can not really know that.  Granted, they may not be entertained like their little selfish hearts desire and they certainly don’t get everything out of it or even everything they could (we don’t either!), but that isn’t what church is for anyway.

Just as this wonderful little article says: We play music for our babies in utero, read to them as toddlers, and pray with our little ones.  We assume they get something out of it.  Why wouldn’t we make the same assumption for corporate worship?

What Can Infants Get Out of Church

My parenting is a full time job and certainly includes church.  I know, I know.  It is very distracting to sermon listening to train children during corporate worship.  I really do get that.  Remember, I have six kiddos.  Still, this should be a part of my job.

Helping my children see church/corporate worship as a valuable event for them is important. When I keep my kids with us as a family,  I am telling and demonstrating to them that their presence before God with His People is important.  I say this to them often, so they understand why there are there.  Sure, it’s difficult if other families don’t do it and my children see their friends running out to “have fun” in children’s church, but I remind them again how important corporate worship is to the LORD.

me us in church WEB

Dying to self and my wants/needs for corporate worship is an act of service to God.  Again, I know. I know it often takes away from my experience in corporate worship for me to train.  I don’t always get as much as I’d like out of a sermon, BUT a some things have happened:

  • I’ve gotten better at multi-task listening
  • I’ve learned to tag team with hubby
  • I remember that God is blessed by my faithfulness in training my children to be in His Presence at corporate worship
  • I place babies/toddlers that are in the chatty stage (and naturally distracting) in the nursery if I am at a “non-family integrated church”  (family integrated churches are not bothered by baby and toddler noises) out of consideration
  • I smile at the kids as often as I can remember so they don’t just see the “training face”
  • I pray when I am frustrated

I remember that perseverance has rewards.  We get compliments all the time on our kiddos’ behavior in church, despite my frustration most Sundays.  They really have gotten the hang of it, most of the time.  Paul Louis has a harder time if he is tired, but he participates well for five.

I can’t tell you the number of people that tell me/us, “Oh, your kids are able to sit with you.  Ours just couldn’t.”  I humbly suggest that unless the child has some kind of special behavior disability, yes, yes, they can sit with you in church.  They just need to trained.  My kids are not some kind of superior genetic group.

It is delightful to sit as a family and worship together.  My heart soars.

and the most important…

I believe God desires children to be there.  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me.”  He wanted them near Him.  I believe He still does.  I believe God the Father wants this.  I don’t think He meant, “Let them go play while I talk to the grown ups.”  I really don’t.

How glorious is it that God, creator and sustainer of the universe, wants me and my children to come before him to worship?  Pretty stinkin’ glorious.

That’s why I want my children with me in worship.  What are your reasons? 

 

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn M June 27, 2013 at 10:01 am

It always breaks my heart to visit a church where children are not allowed in the sanctuary. How can we exclude them from worship, when Jesus says “let the children come to me, and forbid them not”? I believe if we are to ‘train up our children in the way they should go’, this includes making absolute certain my children are beside me in church and not off doing their own things. Thank you for writing this post.

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Heather June 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I am sorry you and Carolyn have had to be in churches where you didn’t feel comfortable to let your kids stay with you. I have never been to one where I knew I couldn’t have them if I wanted, even smaller churches, well…that I know of? That makes me sad to think of an “adult only” church…how dull. Thankfully you are finding family-friendly ones!!!

While I’m not of quite the same mindset (no big surprise there, huh friend?! lol!) with my little one, I do like them to stay in with us after they move out of “nursery/toddler” rooms (around 5). It’s not necessarily so I can pay attention better, though, (most churches will give you recordings of their services you can enjoy later anyway these days) I have just always liked that the the little one is enjoying children his age that he will potentially grow up with on Sundays and hearing bible stories on his level from someone besides me for an hour :-) Of course he sits with James and I during our regular bible reading time and every time we turn on a kindle he thinks it’s time for bible, I love that…so I know he is getting something from adult reading at his young crazy 2 year age ;-) There are times I keep him in during worship time because he loves music and is very drawn to the corporate singing…who isn’t? It’s so beautiful.

I love when families have their kids in church with them, even if I don’t personally do it with toddlers, but I encourage anyone who does it!

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mosey June 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I do love having our kids in service, for many of the same reasons… But I also do see a benefit in sunday school. I’m not sure about the other classes, but if we are teaching it isn’t playtime… even in preschool. (just sayin’) We teach the kids straight out of the Bible, we pray with them and we love on them.

My ideal would be to always have all 6 of mine in a pretty little row smallest to tallest all listening and soaking it in. But… my ideal doesn’t exist, my life is far from ideal and my 6 don’t sit in pretty little rows, the the needs of a few of them, well… yeah… Obviously they do attend with us often, but I’ve come to realize that getting to be in class some is important for them too, to go be challenged in a controlled situation to stand for their convictions without their mommy telling them how to do it… (this is more for the older two)

This is all not to say that I disagree with you, because I don’t… I just think that it has to be approached as a heart issue per each child and not forced on them. (we had a child who was coming to HATE church because of my insistence they sit in service) Creating resentment isn’t the goal either. So we try to keep a healthy balance, sometimes we say yes to children’s church other weeks we say no…

I think too that sunday school or no sunday school, the kids truly learn the most at home from their father’s teaching and example… We take ours in for worship for the reasons stated above, but see the value in it all.

AND… from the spiritual feeding side of things, this mama is withering up and dying… I need to listen to the sermon uninterrupted some weeks or they may not have any sort of example during the week…

Just another angle from a differently family dynamic. :) hugs friend, well written post.

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Jenny June 28, 2013 at 9:41 am

Our church is very small; currently, we meet in a house. We were introduced to the idea of family intergration a few years ago and even attended a conference in Houston, Tx. Our family homeschools and it just makes sense that training your children should include corporate worship. In my experience, many times we see correction and training as inconvenient, but God is gracious to remind me that this is only for a season! All too soon, my children will be starting families of their own. Thank you for this post!

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