Many of you have already read or listened to this recent excellent response by John Piper to the question: “Should Children Sit Through ‘Big Church’?” It is definitely a must-read for every pastor, ministry volunteer, parent, grandparent…every church member. Here was one mother’s comment regarding this post:
Thank you, Pastor John & Noel. I was in a panic when our very active son aged out of the nursery shortly after we came to Bethlehem [Baptist Church]. My child has to sit through the worship service? You’ve got to be kidding! But our church family was patient, and we persevered—paper & crayons, church notebooks, sermon quizzes…we used every tool we could. And 23 years later, our son and daughter are Christ followers who love worshipping our great God. Worshipping as a family became a treasured time. You were right.
I heartily agree! This was our family’s experience, too. I know it can feel impossible at first—especially when you have a very energetic, naturally noisy 5-year-old boy, or several young children (in which case the parents are outnumbered by children). But with lots of patience, creativity, and perseverance it can be done. Don’t give up!
And again, I would like to remind you of these new resources we have available:
My Church Notebook
A guide to help elementary-aged children participate in the service. It teaches them to actively listen to the sermon, take notes, recognize key points, and ask questions. ($7.50)
8 Tips for Helping Your Child Worship
A free brochure!
On a personal note, one tip that I would add to the list is…Choose wisely where to sit in the worship service. For us, this meant sitting in the same general area of the worship service week to week. The familiarity helped our children not become so easily distracted. Also, we sat in the balcony. This location provided our young children with an unobstructed view. Lastly, think carefully about having your children sit within sight of friends. This can serve to either be a motivation to be more attentive or a major distraction.
(Image courtesy of atibodyphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)