Smile - even if you’re nervous and don’t know how to deal with children, even if you’re annoyed that kids kick the pews, even if you worry the baby may scream and interrupt the sermon, even if you wonder why they didn’t take those kids to the nursery, especially if you are happy they came to church. Because you’ve been blessed with the chance to be like Jesus - to teach and listen and care for the littlest among us.
2/22/2016 02:41:22 pm
Your post shows a need for all of us to have a few useful things in our pockets or bags as small churches in particular do not often have paper and crayons ready for use. (They may well be tucked away in a cupboard somewhere!)
Yes! for sure! Go raid an old Sunday School room ;) Or even an office drawer. I firmly believe that every church has a treasure trove somewhere. We are far to frugal to throw away half used sheets of stickers, extra VBS crafts, boxes of crafts sticks, coloring sheets, construction paper... get to church a little early next week and go find it!
2/23/2016 08:42:20 am
Great article. Too often I have listened to people bleating on about how there aren't any "young families" attending service, and there are no kids coming, either. Then, when "noisy family" comes, they complain that Worship should be more solemn, and the kids were a distraction.
2/23/2016 09:20:43 am
This is a great article and very timely with what our church is working on right now! We added a small "busy quiet area" in our sanctuary with crayons and colouring pages and it was well received and welcomed by young families. The kids can sit and colour during the service and the parents can be close by and participate in worship. The best thing about it is when young families enter our sanctuary the little table and chairs immediately lets them know children are welcome.
2/23/2016 02:02:27 pm
Excellent article; we need to remember they are part of thenChurch today and the future
2/23/2016 02:56:19 pm
Seems like it is written for smaller churches with no functioning children's ministry. Not once in the article was the idea considered to actually show the new family where the children's ministries department is? Often new families don't even know there is one. If they are new to church the concept of their children going to a class apart from them might even be scary to a parent. And some simply don't believe in allowing others to teach their children about God. But a simple good faith effort on the part of greeters is in order. The children's ministry leader can't be expected to teach kids, recruit people, empower leaders, check kids in, and greet new families all at the same time.
2/23/2016 05:06:31 pm
Many churches choose to not have a children's ministry during the church service.
Yep, Cheryl's got it with this one. This is written for children who are in worship. It might be because the church choose not to have separate children's programming during worship, or the parent's choose to keep their children in worship. Some churches have children leave at a certain point in the service, so this could apply for the time they are in worship.
2/23/2016 03:33:55 pm
As the clergy I always welcome families with young children and let them know that the children are most welcome to wander around during the service even if they want to be up with me. I ask the congregation just to watch for their safety. I let them know that I have raised 6 children and if it was necessary I could be louder than any of them. We don't currently have a functioning children's ministry but we keep things in the church (small toys, crayons books puzzles, activity mat etc. that can be pulled out at a moments notice. I find that If I am relaxed then the congregation will follow.
2/23/2016 06:54:11 pm
Great article, church needs to move in this way. Children are the church of today along with everyone else and we need to start operating in such a way that shows we truly believe this. Let's get to work :)
2/26/2016 05:27:29 pm
Jesus admonished the disciples for stopping the children. Welcome families with children with open loving (arms) smiles. Children want and need to be a 'part of' not just spectators or shoo'd off to the nursery. My church has Busy Bags in the narthex with coloring books and crayons, bible story books. That can be made by church ladies (14x14 with 14 " handles.)
I love "The Lesson for All Ages." I've also heard some unique things like "A Time for Wonder" and "Working and Wondering with the Word."
2/29/2016 10:28:12 am
A worship service with children in attendance is a sign of an alive, living, loving congregation.
3/13/2016 11:18:26 pm
A quiet church is a dying church.
4/19/2016 04:26:31 pm
I love that you have a lot of great ideas to welcome families to church. One great thing about having children go to the nursery or children's area is that, in most churches, there are wonderful staff or volunteers who love kids there ready to lead age-appropriate activities for the children to enjoy. They can also learn about church and Jesus in a way they won't in "big church." Asking a family if they know about the children's area and nursery doesn't have to be a hint to get the kids out of here, but it can be given as a wonderful option for these little ones.
12/4/2017 12:24:24 am
Thank you for the article. Your compassion for the family is encouraging. As a father of 3 all under age 4 we are the noisy family and today we were asked to leave a church service. It was our first time there and I was really disappointed. It's easy get wrapped up around keeping everyone quiet but the kids need Jesus too. We'll find the right fellowship but your article and comments encouraged me to remember there are kid friendly worship services out there.
It really helped when you said that children can follow a simple explanation and visual cues, so it can help to use yourself as a model for worship. I hope to find a family-friendly church that can help with that aspect as well, since it can help with my family going to a serene place with kids. It would be the first time of our kids once we find a church, so I want to make sure that they will behave well to not cause a distraction.
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