Why Children Need to Be in Grown-Up Worship
“They’re distracting.” “Moms need a break.” “They can’t understand.”
Why Excluding Children from Worship is a Disservice
Sounds reasonable, but I believe with all my heart, children need to be smack dab in the middle of grown up worship, and we do them a great disservice to put them elsewhere.
Children learn almost everything by experience and observation. Yet we take the one, most important thing they will learn–the WORSHIP of of God–and exclude them. When Jesus said, “Let the little children come” I think He really meant to Him. And where do we corporately go to Him? The worship service.
We sing rich, robust hymns that teach us theology (at least a few churches still do) while they sing Veggie Tales. We hear and read the transforming Word of God while they hear a watered down story. We imbibe the sacredness of being in the presence of a holy God and they eat cookies and play games. We lift up holy hands and they miss seeing the reverence we are called to exhibit because they are being distracted.
Is it any wonder our children grow up and crave to merely be entertained at church, if they even decide to stay at all?
Training Children to Sit Still During Services: A Worthy Effort
Does it take some work to train children to sit still during a 2 hour service? Sure it does. Work worthy of doing. Work that will prove peripheral benefits. When I had young children, sometimes I would sit in the foyer and practice there, in case they were noisy. It didn’t take very long of intentional training.
Learning from Children in Worship: The Value of Imitation
When the Psalmist says, “Out of the mouths of babes and infants, You have ordained praise” doesn’t that make us long to hear the utterings of babies and toddlers in our worship service? They need, and learn from us, but we need and learn from them!
To the rebuttal of “they can’t understand and need something on their level…” Think about how a child learns practically everything. Speech. Psychology. Physics. They learn by being immersed in the world, experiencing things they don’t understand, yet come to learn with remarkable accuracy. Don’t let us stunt their growth in the one place that matters most. We are called to make disciples. They learn by imitation. Consider how age-segregated worship affects the Body.
Immerse them in the beauty and depth of worship. It may be the most important thing we can do for our children.
For a fantastic resource if you want to learn more on this topic, try Incorporating Children in Worship: Mark of the Kingdom