If your congregation is like most churches, they offer some sort of children’s worship. It can last the entire duration of the worship service or happen just during the sermon. Some congregations only have children’s worship for preschool children, while others offer it through late elementary or even the teen years.
I have long been an advocate of children remaining in the worship service. There are tons of benefits from our children remaining in the adult worship. In my opinion, those benefits are far more important than the distractions children may cause if allowed to stay.
You may be thinking you won’t “get anything out of worship” if your kids are sitting with you. Yet ultimately, worship is not really about us. Having your kids with you in worship may be challenging at first. If you stick with it though, your kids may just get the following benefits:
- Learning why we worship. Being in worship will hopefully teach your children, worship is about more than having a warm, fuzzy feeling when it is over. It is about showing God the honor, respect and obedience He deserves as our Creator and King. Yes, Christians do benefit from worship, but it was never meant to be about entertainment or personal feelings. Being in a worship environment where everything is not designed to entertain them and give them a spiritual fake “high”, will allow you to have many discussions over the years about the true purposes of worship. They will learn they are to worship God even when they aren’t singing their favorite song or aren’t having fun. Who knows, they may even learn to worship God when they are a little bored. It is a vital skill that should be a part of your children’s faith foundation…worshipping God no matter what the circumstances are.
- Learning the purpose of the church family. When children are in worship the entire time, they tend to have more positive interactions with other members of the congregation. Those smiles, loving comments, hugs and other signs of love from their church family begin to make important emotional connections to the church family. Most people run into service just in time and don’t interact much with others until after the service. Your children miss many of these important bonding moments if they aren’t in the room when they happen. Those emotional bonds to other Christians will keep your kids tied to your congregation and become increasingly important as they enter their teen and early adult years.
- Creating important faith memories. For many Christians, some of their fondest memories are things that happened in the worship service. Some are silly, others are funny and some may even be little sad or unfortunate. Even if they are initially unfortunate incidents, they often become sweet memories of a time and place where your children felt loved and special. They will probably also include memories of special scriptures or songs and even a favorite faith sharing of a member. Those faith memories may draw your kids back to God or keep them connected as they go through those rough transitional years of adulthood.
- Learning self-control and obedience. Although those characteristics aren’t valued in our society today, they are the backbone of a Christian life. Do a quick check of the New Testament and obedience and self-control are mentioned time and time again. Your children will move away from God very quickly if they struggle with obedience and self-control. Worship service is a great place to have concentrated practice for a relatively short period of time each week. Learning to obey you regarding appropriate worship behaviors and controlling their tendencies to do more selfish things during worship will help your children be stronger Christians as they mature. (Even secular studies show children with strong self-control are more successful in every aspect of life through adulthood.)
- Learning from spiritual truths shared during worship. I know, not all preachers and sermons are created equal. I have learned over the years though, that even the worst sermons have at least a nugget of value – even if it is learning how not to share your faith and God’s wisdom. As your children grow and mature, they also can learn things from sermons, communion comments and other aspects of worship they would otherwise miss. It is important they also view worship service as a place to learn more about God and what He wants for them and from them.
- It strengthens your family identity as a family who puts God first and at the center of everything. Seeing you worship and worshipping with you creates vital spiritual nuclear family bonding. You are a family unit coming together as a team of sorts to show honor and respect to your King – God. The more your children view following God – including worshipping Him – as part of their family and personal identity, the greater the likelihood of them growing to become faithful Christians.
You may be wondering how you can help your toddler, preschooler or even older child and you get these benefits of worship. In my next post, I will share ways to help even the youngest children begin to engage in and benefit from worship services.