Friday, May 27, 2016

Why my kids watch me preach; or why I don't send my children to "children's church"

Our church, Craig Valley Baptist, offers a “children’s church” option for kids between 3–5 years old, though often we have 7 and 8 year olds there as well. However, my wife and I have the conviction that our children would do better by worshiping with us the entire service. This seems a bit odd for some, especially the pastor’s kids. Why would the pastor not send his kids down to the very ministry that is for his kids? Let me admit that I do feel this tension. But let me also explain why my wife and I have chosen to keep our kids in the corporate worship service along with us.

Before I give my reasons, let me preface with a couple of assumptions that I maintain. First of all, children are far more perceptive than we often give them credit. We may think that sermons, songs, or sacraments are over their heads. And perhaps the majority of the time that may be true. But they are also absorbing foundational concepts, ideas, and doctrines that will undergird their worldview for the remainder of their lives. The trick is to help them connect with the basic concepts that they will hear. And that brings me to my second assumption. Training children to sit through a church service is as much a learned technique for the kids as it is for the parents. Most parents aren’t trained how to maintain their children in the worship service. After all, how wonderful is it that the church has provided an hour of free babysitting! Nevertheless, there are many effective tools that parents can implement to help and improve the children’s interaction and behavior in the worship service (see the linked article below). Parents need to be trained just as the children.

So why do I keep my kids in the worship service and encourage others to do likewise?