Two or Three (.net)

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. - Jesus

4.12.2005

Should Children Be Allowed in Worship?

by Tom Parsons [+/-] show/hide

One of the ongoing debates among evangelical churches is whether children should be part of corporate worship on Sunday mornings. If you survey different churches you are likely to find a variety of approaches to this issue. Not long ago, I ran across this article that really affirmed for me the importance of my children (who are 9 and 7) being with us in corporate worship.

One of the arguments that I hear against having children in worship is their inability to understand fully what is being taught. I've even wondered sometimes whether my children are really grasping what is being preached. Yesterday I was reminded that my children (and children in general) absorb a lot more than adults often give them credit for absorbing.

Not long ago we had a lengthy sermon series in our church on Creation vs. Evolution. We were blessed to have some men come in to speak who were very knowledgeable on the subject and provided a lot of good information to us. Several folks said they didn't need to hear the series because they had heard it before. Some of the information shared was very scientific and technical. My wife referred to it as an "eat your spinach" series. It wasn't necessarily enjoyable but something everyone needed to hear.

Yesterday, my 9 year old daughter was reading a book that we have on mammals. She asked me if she could write a letter to the publisher and send them a Bible because of all the evolution that was in the book. Based on what she had heard in church she had been able to discern that the information presented in her book (which was written specifically for her age group) was full of errors.

This episode only reaffirms for me the importance of our children to be participating in our corporate worship. The Christian faith is "caught" as much as it is "taught". If we expect our children to become believers then they need to be where they can "catch" the faith as well as having it "taught" to them.

3 Comments:

  • I keep my 1.5 year old in the service during the singing, then take her to the childcare during the sermon.

    We have a great youth pastor, so most of the teens go there - they find the worship and preaching much more dynamic, sad to say.

    But that may be because the youth pastor preaches about things that really concern them, and in a style that they enjoy. They don't want to attend a 6 week series on how to make your marriage work.

    Letting your tween or teen choose which service they want to go to, if you have that option, is cool. For certain topics (like creation science)or worship bloweouts or whatever, you may want them in the big service, but I have no prob putting them in the youth service.

    By Blogger papa, at 4/12/2005 5:28 PM  

  • I had a great worship experience one evening at a youth weekend when I was able to worship with my 2 year old. Usually he is in nursery, but enjoyed the opportunity.

    We have nursery and children's church for kids up to around third grade, after that everyone is in the sancturary.

    I think we really miss something we don't have corporate worship as a church, but fragmented worship as different interest groups. I agree that a teen may not want to sit through a message on marriage, but who knows what impact it may have on them.

    Sometimes we miss out on church unity when we are so divided among age groups or whatever groups we split off in. There should at least be one point in the service (in my opinion) where everyone is together to worship.

    By Blogger Aaron, at 4/13/2005 1:05 PM  

  • I think it's a case of tradeoffs. In a separate service geared for the age group, faith can be exciting and age appropriate, engaging the kids who might not be engaged in the main service. This can be true of both worship and preaching.

    However, I definitely think there is a benefit to doing both worship and listening to preaching as a family.

    In smaller churches, there might not be the resources for a "youth service" for those kids beyond sunday school age (grade school), so they might have to sit in a "boring" service.

    I think that a mix of both separate and together is probably best, so that (1) kids are ministered to at their level and in ways engaging to them, but (2) they get a full experience of worship and mature spiritual life with the adults.

    By Blogger papa, at 4/13/2005 5:33 PM  

Post a Comment