Why I Believe Children Should Be In Church
By Jeff Klick
Mark 10:14-16 - "Jesus said 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it'. And He took the children in his arms, put His hands on them and blessed them."
This passage of Scripture has always intrigued me. If you read the verses before this one you see that there were people (actually they were the ushers; the disciples!) rebuking the children, be quiet, keep still, don't make noise, etc. and Jesus brushes past them and picks up the children and includes them into what was going on, not only that, he elevates the children to the position of role models.
In Bible days they did not have nurseries, children's church, or junior church, families learned together. The children were taught to sit still and listen. The children learned from their parents. Have you ever noticed that children have an incredible knack for asking probing questions? They listen to a message and then ask questions that really challenge their parents. Could this be one reason parents do not want their children in church with them?
Sure, it takes discipline to train a baby or toddler to sit still. But it can be done. It should be done! A child can sit and color for hours, surely they can sit for 30 to 40 minutes and listen.
Who has not delighted in seeing a child worship, or the look of understanding in their eyes when they finally comprehend an idea, or the childlike faith they exhibit?
During the training process there will be a battle. Whose will, will win? It must be the parents! At Hope Family Fellowship I want you to win that battle. If your child is making noise, remove them to a quite place and deal with it, then bring them back into the service. Many parents fail right here. The child knows that if I make just enough noise mom or dad will take me out and let me play. Don't fall for it! Take them out, but bring them back! If a child is being disruptive remove them, deal with it, but bring them back.
Children need to see their parents worship, pray, take notes, and be involved with the service. We as parents teach much more by example than our words.
If we remove our children to a playground, or fast-paced entertainment group, they will never learn to sit, listen, or get anything out of church, (even if it isn't always exciting). Children will grow into bored teenagers, unless we train them now. Children will spend their whole adult life in church where there are not gimmicks to hold their attention. We must be training them now to enjoy church, and get life out of it, even at a very young age!
If a message is "over their heads," it gives the parents an opportunity to break it down to their level (teaching is the best way to learn!). By explaining it to a child, you will be sure you understand it as well! Some parents encourage their children to listen for key words and draw pictures of the main points this keeps their attention, and really blesses me when they come up after a service and share their pictures with me.
Those of us whose children are older, or do not have children, need to give grace to those with smaller children. People will always make noise in church no matter what age they are. Some sneeze, snort, cough, grunt, drop books, shuffle feet, yes some even cry, but can't we love each other and give each other grace? If your child is being noisy, deal with it quickly so you are not distracting others, but come back in the service so the education process can continue!
My children have almost always been in the services with us. We have not regretted the decision and our children have not suffered for it either. Now that they are older, they enjoy the services, and are usually never bored.
Let's make Hope Family Fellowship a place where children can still be touched and blessed by Jesus! Let's include the children in the life of the church and not exile them to some remote corner of the building!