Beyond Children’s Church

It involves a change of attitude, which comes from small, intentional steps.  That is what I keep telling myself with the attitude toward some people in the church toward children.  I have been in churches where they actually said “let’s get the kids out of here so it is quiet”  Sometimes the church brags about having children’s church for the kids, but it really is for the adults.   In my own ministry, I have fought the notion of “keep the cookies in the basement” and “children should be busy during worship so they are not bored.”  That drives me crazy because if you give a kid a cookie, he will ask for a glass of milk, sure, but just let them eat it wherever he wants and if you are encountering God in worship, kids will not be bored.   We must go beyond children’s church!  I often talk with the kids during the sermon or intentionally share something that will connect with them as well.  But then again all of that only comes because I take time to be with the kids relationally.   More adults need to do this.  Talk with kids. Have a snowball fight, go fishing, throw a football around — whatever it takes.  Show interest in them and remember their names.  It makes what you say much more meaningful to them.

The ChurchOne of the big shifts has been creating a small group that is for families.  What I mean is not that we have kids there and they do some sort of craft on their own away from the adults, but we have the kids and adults together the entire time.  We play games together, eat a snack, pray together, and talk about what God is doing in our lives.  This past time we spent time making notes for the shut-ins in our church and have ministered to them through that.   The group teaching is geared at the kids, but the adults find the time to be encouraging for them also.  Their kids are talking about God’s Word together!  Is this not what the Church is supposed to be?

Perhaps one of the most telling events was our baptism service.  We used a water tank for cattle and set it all up outside. This tank was a nice looking pool.  That day was a hot day so keeping the kids out of it was very difficult.  But after we were done with the baptism, the kids went in, some of them in their clothes.  We maintained the respect for what baptism is and made sure we exalted God in it.  But once that was over with, it was time to get wet. This is just another piece, I feel, that makes what we are about as the Church authentic and inviting for kids.  This is important because if it isn’t authentic and inviting for kids, they will most certainly check out.  But if we can get them to understand that the Church is them, now, then perhaps they will grow to be an active part of it.

So, I wonder — are there specific ways your church has tried to connect with children beyond children’s church?

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. We don’t have a children’s church. We have Sunday school where the children break into ages/grades and the adults into men’s classes & ladies classes, mixed ages. But throughout our Church Conference it’s a given the children will attend the worship services with their parents from several weeks old & up, and learn to sit quietly during the service. Often the pastors will address the children or involve them in an explanation of the Bible. I think this practice yields the best results.

    1. I don’t have any problem with children sitting in the service with their parents — in fact, I would rather that they did. The challenge is to help the church see that the kids are not a nuisance, but a vital part of the church. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I would think God enjoyed the laughter and the children. He wants our praise and worship, but I think He finds pleasure when we can be lighthearted in a good way. Kudos that you were relaxed enough to let the children be children.

    Nancy

    1. God clearly does love children, no doubt about it. I think some adults need to lighten up a little and just enjoy something again. Children just go for it and I love that about them.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s