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Let the Children Come

A Guide for Parents and Friends of Children

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Bringing Children to Worship may not always be easy, but it is essential for their growth in Christ. The Body of Christ assembled is incomplete in their absence.

Children At Worship

Family

Our church fellowship includes a number of families with children. The inclusion of children in worship is of great importance to children, their families, and the community of faith. Children are important and are welcomed as members of our worshiping community.

How To Successfully Teach Your Child To Go To Church With You

Child in Green Chair

An effective teaching method is to gradually lengthen the time a child remains in church. Children can usually be expected to participate in an entire service in an orderly manner by the time they enter second grade.

Remember to try and make your time at church positive and uplifting for your child(ren), so that they look forward to coming to church.

How to Set Up Your Preschooler to Win in Church

Child by the Window

A sensitivity to the preschooler's abilities and needs can help make worship a spiritually fruitful and pleasant experience for everyone. Here are some ideas for you!

  • Sit in the balcony where the child has extra room and can have a clear view of the sanctuary.

  • Prepare your child for the different parts of the worship service by explaining special events ahead of time and answering questions that need an answer "right now" in a whisper.

  • Allow the preschooler to bring along a favorite stuffed animal, coloring book or other quiet toys to play with when they need a different activity. Make use of what is provided by the church.

  • Allow children to stand up and move around, encouraging whispering.

  • Use the quiet times during worship as a chance for special togetherness for parents and children.

We Welcome Children To Worship!

Image by Ben White

We encourage families to bring their children of all ages to worship.

We provide an open area in the balcony of the church, for infants, toddlers and preschooler's to use.

We provide coloring pages and crayons on a table in the narthex (entryway).

We model appropriate worship behavior for children by teaching them to stand, sit, sing or hold hands with the congregation.

We encourage parents to take their children to the narthex, nursing/cry room, or outside for a break whenever needed.

The Preschool Child

Sweet Toddler

Adults sometimes question the wisdom of including preschool children in worship. It is true that children sometimes distract those around them and distress parents by their behavior. But as members of God's family, they complete the circle in worship and at God's table. We have also learned the lasting blessings to the spiritual growth of children into adulthood that results from regular worship with their families, beginning in infancy.

The Preschool child comes to worship with:

  • a short attention span

  • seemingly endless energy

  • a growing curiosity about everything

While these attributes can combine to test the patience of adults, there are several ways parents can help the preschooler's experience - and everyone's - to be more relaxed and enjoyable.

The Elementary School Age Child

Child smiling at school

The school-aged child brings some new abilities to worship:

  • A greater capacity for attentive listening;

  • An increasing ability to read;

  • A growing ability to organize and memorize information.

Here are some ideas for parents and grandparents to help your child toward greater participation in worship. The above skills will develop even more when they:

  • Are helped to memorize the Lord's Prayer and other parts of the liturgy (worship service).

  • Review the order of worship with the one who brings them to church.

  • Help them to identify new or difficult words and preview together those parts where the congregation responds by reading, speaking or singing.

  • Are invited to follow the liturgy in the order of worship (bulletin).

  • Notice hymns and go over the words and meanings.

  • Are encouraged to listen to the sermon for stories, answers to questions or important thoughts.

  • Talk about the service and sermon. Ask the child what he or she remembers best about it.

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Worship and Learning

Children Reading the Holy Bible

Worship is a primary way people learn what it means to be a Christian. Children learn to worship and to practice the faith, with the congregation, Sunday after Sunday.

  • Children belong to Christ, are part of His Body, and are welcome in His Church.

  • They learn how to pray, to sing, and how to hear God in good times and sad times.

  • They build memorable shared experiences of Christian fellowship which can be deeply meaningful when they are older.

  • They are enriched by the beauty of music and art as expressions of faith.

  • They hear stories from the Bible, and begin to experience worship as a place and time in which God speaks to them.

  • They witness the drama of the Lord's Supper and Baptism as signs of God's kindness, promise and love.

  • They discover that they are valued by God and by the people of God.

ABC's for Parents and Friends of Children

Girl with Braids

Arrive in time to find a good place to sit and get settled. Sitting in the balcony will provide little children with more space and a better view.
 

Bring quiet toys, books or coloring books for preschool and early elementary school aged children.

Come early and help ring the church bell to begin the service. Clue children in as to what will happen next in worship. Children who can read will want to follow the service in the order of worship and find hymns. Children like to be ready.

Discuss worship at home before and after Sunday services to prepare children. Also, give time to answer questions about worship experiences.

Express your gladness at having children in worship. During the Peace be sure to welcome the children and parents new to you. Include them in your conversations before and after worship to let them know they belong.

Free yourself from worry about children's behavior and be open to receiving their witness and ministry to you.

We need children!

Boy playing guitar

As the Lord said:

"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes a humble place - becoming like this child - is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."

Mathew 18:2-5

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