Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Small Children in the Corporate Worship

Pastor Paul Martin writes a good article called: Helping Little Ones Learn to Sit in Church: A Few Practical Suggestions on Moving from Nursery to "Big Church. The suggestions he gives for keeping young ones in the service are helpful. I would like to add something to a couple of his suggestions.

First is the suggestion: “You may start keeping your child in “big church” for the first half of the service.” This may be a good way to start but all too often I see parents keep this mentality. If we are not careful the children start to see the preaching of the word of God as not as important as the singing and other activities. This may not be intentional but children learn early how to worship. So while this may be a good way to start if you have never had young ones in a service I would encourage you to not keep this practice up too long. By the way there are many an adult that still check out for the preaching part of the service so this is not just an issue for children.

Second is the suggestion: “Some children will find sitting in church easier if they are given a few books to read.” While this also may be a good way to start children off who have not attended the regular service before if it is kept up too long they will soon see church as a place to do anything but listen to the word of God being preached. So my suggestion would be to try and engage them in the word in their bibles and have them draw and write things about what they hear. This, as with many things takes training and guidance but will better equip them for the future.

I linked to this before but John Piper also has an article that has suggestions on how to have small children in the service: The Family: Together in God's Presence.

Parents need to take Pastors Martin and Piper’s suggestions and implement them instead of unloading the kid’s in the nursery. How children are raised with regards to worship will greatly influence how they worship as adults. If they are led to avoid corporate worship as children they will in all likelihood find ways to avoid it as adults.

The article by Pastor Martin links to a good Banner of Truth article by GEOFF THOMAS called: A Child Was Bored in the Service .

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