Children in “Big Church” – MBLFP 218

 

Let the little children come unto Me, and forbid them not, He said

Should children be in the main church service with the big people? We had eight children and we’ve tried to keep them in “big church” with us as much as possible. And we found that, with some wisdom and attention, it’s not only possible, but actually very good – and the kids learn much more than you might expect! This episode, we’re talking about the why and how of bringing little kids into the worship and teaching of the whole church.

Children and Worship in the Bible

Many churches have separate services for kids, “children’s church,” in addition to nurseries that sometimes include kids well out of the diaper years. We’ve been to churches that strongly encouraged – or even demanded – that children be sent out of the main sanctuary! But what do we see in the Bible?

In both the Old and New Testaments, children are specifically welcomed among the adults in formal and informal times of worship

  • Moses included children and “little ones” when he gathered the people to hear and re-affirm the covenant (Deuteronomy 29:11)
  • Even children seven and under were expected to benefit from Scriptural teaching (Deuteronomy 31:10-13)
  • Very young children were included in other times of worship and prayer (2 Chronicles 20:13, Ezra 10:1, Nehemiah 10:28, Joel 2:16)
  • Jesus accepted the worship of children when He entered Jerusalem, quoting Psalm 8:2 (Matthew 21:16)
  • Jesus welcomed children into His presence even when the disciples didn’t (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16)
  • Children were present for Jesus’ teaching and miracles (Matthew 14:21, John 6:9)
  • Jesus taught his disciples they should learn from the simple faith of children (Matthew 18:2-5)
  • Children are mentioned in gatherings with the apostles, too (Acts 21:5)

Making It Work – For Everybody

Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. -- Jesus

We were bringing babies and young children into the services long before it was cool! We were inspired and encouraged by Edith Schaeffer’s books where she described how she had managed her own young family in church, and we decided to try it ourselves. Here’s what we learned:

  1. Remember children are, after all, children. Don’t expect them to act like tiny adults. They will be fidgety, noisy, and childish.
  2. Start at home. Include your children in family devotions. Teach them to sit quietly for prayer. Practice sitting quietly in Mom or Dad’s lap for periods of time while reading the Bible or listening to someone teaching.
  3. Prepare your children to behave appropriately in church. Remind them that there are times to be still and quiet, like during the prayers, and times to stand up and sing with joy. You may want to explain your church’s beliefs about Communion or the Lord’s Supper, whether your child should take part or not.
  4. Teach them to sing. Even a child who can’t read yet can join in the singing if she knows the words. And it’s plain from the Bible that God is delighted to hear the voices of little children singing His praise!
  5. Help the children understand the message. You can whisper a simple explanation or draw illustrations to keep a child interested and learning. Curt and Sandra Lovelace’s book Children in Church has great examples how to do this.
  6. Be sensitive to other worshipers. Some people just aren’t used to normal background noises of children. Sit near a doorway and be ready to quietly remove a fussy child – if they calm down, you might be able to slip back in.

Don’t sell your kids short – if you make a habit of talking about the Lord and His Word at home, like it says in Deuteronomy 6, your kids will grow up with the knowledge and context that helps them understand a Sunday sermon and gain benefit that may surprise you. Go ahead, give it a try!

NEWS AND UPDATES

  • We’re speaking at the 2019 Virginia Homeschool Convention in Richmond, June 6-8, 2019.  CLICK HERE for info about this huge event.
  • Our Come Away Weekend is a marriage retreat and couples getaway combined. Everything’s included for May 3-5 at beautiful St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast.  CLICK HERE to find out more!
  • Would you like us to speak at your church, support group, conference or retreat?  We are booking dates throughout 2019. CLICK HERE to let us know you’re interested!

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