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Bringing Children to Worship

September 21, 2015

I have had this article rolling around in my mind for a few weeks now. This weekend, Graymere hosted a parenting workshop with Lonnie Jones, and one of our discussion times brought up the ever-present challenge of sitting in a worship service with small children. For years now, I have watched Kathryn do an incredible job with our children on Sunday mornings, allowing me freedom to focus on preaching, teaching, connecting with people, etc. It is always encouraging to see parents bring children to worship, but I know it isn’t easy. So, here are some thoughts on the subject –

When you bring your children to worship…
…you have to set the alarm early, because it takes a lot more time to get a child ready than it does to get yourself ready.
…you have to deal with several issues before you even leave your driveway, including but not limited to – child not wanting to get out of bed, child not wanting breakfast, child wanting juice instead of milk, child changing his/her mind after the juice has been poured and deciding on milk instead, child not liking the clothes that have been picked out, child not liking other clothes you hold up as possible options, child determined to wear the one pair of pants you really don’t want him/her to wear, entire family putting everything on hold and spending 20 minutes searching for the child’s shoes, baby needing a diaper change as soon as everyone gets in the car, etc.
…you have to be “on duty” during the entire worship service. You are the guardian of the goldfish, cheerios, or fruit snacks, who must use caution so that supplies don’t run out before the service is over.
…you have to multi-task, attempting to listen during the sermon while keeping children quiet and still (relatively speaking). There are some Sundays you wonder if you even heard two sentences of the sermon.
…you have to carry their weight – literally. A child that falls asleep in your arms will likely do one of two things – 1. Function as a space heater that does not require electricity but leaves drool on your shoulder, or 2. Use his/her weight to cause your entire arm and shoulder to fall asleep.
…you have to be prepared for your child to be talking to another adult and suddenly share something you said you didn’t know he or she overheard.

But, when you bring your children to worship…
…you tell them by your actions how important worship is to you. They will never forget the priorities you show them as they grow up, and when they are adults they will be comforted and inspired by your faith.
…you give them knowledge of God’s Word. They might not always talk to you about it, and they might not always pay attention, but they are learning about God during the sermon and memorizing words to songs that teach them important spiritual principles.
…you pave the way for them to have faith of their own. Our Christian lives aren’t limited to what happens in a Sunday morning worship service, but worshipping God and being around other Christians will teach life lessons that cannot be found anywhere else.
…you give your church family the opportunity to follow Jesus’ instruction and welcome little children.
…you put smiles on the faces of other parents of small children as they realize they are not alone.
…you put smiles on the faces of parents whose children are teenagers, as they reminisce about what that phase of life was like for them. (Apparently, memories of early alarm clocks and diaper changes become less stressful over time).
…you put smiles on the faces of many grandparents who don’t live in the same town as their grandchildren, and they love to see yours.
…you set an example to younger people that if and when they have children, they will know what a Christian parent looks like.
…you reassure a single parent visiting worship (who is already worried about how his/her children will behave) that children are loved and accepted in your church family.
…you encourage others in many other ways that you will probably never know.

Thank you for bringing your children to worship. I know it is tiring. I know it is time-consuming.

I also know it is worth it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2015 8:48 pm

    Andrew, l love your writing. Hopefully this will be encouraging to many young families.

  2. Linda barnes permalink
    September 22, 2015 9:33 pm

    Thank you Andrew! This is something I have believed and said for so long! Like your writing and hope many will make the effort to read!

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