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.
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?
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.
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?