Does the thought of taking your children into the Sunday worship service with you strike fear in your heart?
Do you fear the scolding glances and whispered complaints you’ll have to bear because of your children’s presence in the service?
Fear no more!
Not only can you take your children to church with you without fear, the experience can, and should, be a wonderful time of unity and worship for your entire family.
When my oldest two children, (now 25 and 26) were young, we dutifully marched them off to the junior church program. With no other children in the worship service to serve as an example to us, we just assumed that was how it was supposed to work.
My children weren’t unhappy in junior church. They didn’t complain about junior church. But, something was just missing. As we talked about what they learned each week, the lessons weren’t making an impact on their hearts. The lessons weren’t drawing them closer to Jesus. The lessons weren’t causing them to mature in their knowledge of God.
After Steve and I discussed our Sunday morning dilemma, we decided to try an experiment. What if we brought our children to church? What if we challenged them to listen and learn from the preached Word of God? What if we took what we learned in the sermon and used it to disciple them throughout the week?After all, what harm could it do?
That Sunday we brought them into “adult” church and we’ve never looked back since!
Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying that taking my kids to church has always been easy, but sometimes, easy isn’t necessarily best. For our family, learning to worship together has brought family unity, deep spiritual discussions, and spiritual accountability.
22 years of taking 8 children to church has taught me some lessons; lessons that make the Sunday morning worship routing so much easier. I’d like to share those lessons with you.
*Prepare ahead. If you want your Sunday morning to go well, you must prepare in advance. There are several ways that I prepare for Sunday worship. First, when my children were out of the nursery and old enough to attend church services, I practiced what church would “look like” with them. We practiced sitting quietly, standing up and sitting down again without drawing attention to ourselves, and singing joyfully, without yelling.
If you haven’t already trained your children in “Self-Control Practice,” I would encourage you to do that, now! Self-control practice, consistently developed, will give your children a tool for success, not only during church, but also at the doctor’s office, in the car, and any other time that being self-controlled is necessary. Not sure how to teach “Self-Control Practice”? See my book, Rise and Shine, for details.
*Purchase some simple church “helps.” We purchased a Bible, new pencil, and bag for each of our children to carry to church. We bought them an inexpensive, but full sized Bible, not a Bible storybook. Well before they could read to themselves, my children had built a strong habit of carrying God’s Word to church and preparing to follow along in the sermon. We would talk excitedly about the day that they would be able to read and follow along ALL BY THEMSELVES!
Just a side note, moms. May I encourage you to carry a real paper and ink Bible to church? I know that many of you use your electronic devices to read your Bibles, but let’s examine that practice from the viewpoint of your small children.
Hmmm…that’s where Mommy sees her emails. That’s where Mommy looks on Facebook. That’s where Mommy texts Daddy. That’s where Mommy plays Angry Birds. What’s Mommy doing now? I can’t listen to that man up front…I want to see what Mommy’s playing!
When your children see you flipping pages, underlining verses, and jotting down important notes in the margin of your Bible, they will be incorporating important heart lessons regarding the importance of Scripture in your life. They’ll see that your involved and engaged in the teaching. Just a thought.
Next time we’ll look at many more practical ways to make worship together as a family, not only workable, but also wonderful. Until then, spend some time seeking God and asking Him if He would have your children begin to worship with you. It may take a little work, but the fruit is unmistakable!