Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why we Keep Our Children in the Church Service

***The purpose of this post is not to condemn those who put their children in Sunday School or Children’s Church. My intent is to encourage those who are thinking about keeping their children in service with them and to help the curious understand the reason behind our decision.***

I love the sound of little ones worshiping the Lord during church service. I love seeing all the little faces sitting next to their parents as they listen and observe what is going on around them. Recently, our church has been blessed with some new families visiting our church and that just makes me giddy inside. Because watching families come together and worship together is an awesome sight to see. God designed families to be together and during church services, it is important that families worship the Lord together.

When we decided to keep our kids in service with us we knew that it was what God wanted us to do. We also knew that there was a bigger reason but we weren’t able to identify it at that time. Since then, our reasons for keeping our children in service have grown enormously and every Sunday, it seems we add another reason to the list. When you make the decision to worship together as a family, it is imperative that you know why you have made that choice. It is not easy to keep young toddlers quiet and still in service, it is hard work to train them. Remembering the reason you have chosen to keep your children with you in service will help you stay the course when the going gets rough. The reward for your hard work is eternal and not always immediate.

The first reason we had for keeping our children with us in service was simple, the toddler class teacher could not keep our Little Man in the room. The second reason was because while the kids were in the toddler room, we did not see any actual teaching going on. The kids were not made to sit for a story or for songs, there was just free play. This saddened me so much. Two year olds can sit for stories and they love songs. However as time went on we developed many more important reasons for keeping our kids in service with us. The first reason is because we deeply believe it is the parents’ responsibility to teach and train our children in the ways of the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 speaks directly to parents about training children. If our children are sitting next to us, watching us as we praise and worship the Lord, give our tithes and offerings, and attentively listen to the message, they will follow our example. Children are little mirrors, if you watch them; you will see yourself in their attitudes and actions. Children will also mirror each other if you let them. Proverbs 22:15 says folly is bound in the heart of a child. When children are together often, acts of foolishness will be the outcome. Even the most attentive Sunday School teacher cannot be aware of everything that happens amongst the children. As parents we have decided to not allow our children to sit near other children in service. (We actually sit in front row center for all to see. My kids are rarely if ever a distraction.) We want as few distractions as possible during service helping them be more successful in sitting still and paying attention. What we do goes right along with how we train our children all the time. We keep our children close to us, training them and pruning them as needed. Some have likened this Tomato Staking, if you let a tomato plant to grow on its own, it will grow out of control and the fruit you reap will not be good. If you stake a tomato plant causing it only to grow up and pruning it as needed, watering it and making sure it has plenty of sun, the fruit you reap will be very good. (If you have ever tasted a fresh tomato straight off a well trained vine, you know what I mean.) You can apply the very same concept to training a child.

Children are called to worship with the men, women and elders throughout the Bible. I went over Old Testament verses, and New Testament verses a while ago. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9 the Lord is very clear about our responsibility as parents to teach our children in the ways of the Lord. We have chosen not to take that responsibility lightly and are very determined to do as the Lord instructed. I am not saying that Sunday School is wrong; I know that there are a lot of children’s ministries out there that reach children who would otherwise not get to hear God’s Word. I am just saying that Sunday School isn’t the best choice or God’s design for parents raising their children to walk in the ways of the Lord.

4 comments:

  1. Nice post! This is our family's stance also. God has given parent's the precious gift of children, and training them up in His way is a task that is great and should not be taken lightly. I enjoyed reading this! Have a great weekend:)

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  3. Hello, Mommyreg
    I am a lifelong friend of Diane's. I went to high school with Linda.
    I must tell you what a wonderful choice your family has made, and I appreciate the work you put in to making this decision a success.
    The most clear, and fondest memories I have of my early childhood are of church services. I have clear memories of worshiping God in church at 2 and a half years of age, and 5 years and up.
    In those days, it was the only option, we sat as a family and were trained and expected to behave properly. I loved corporate worship and still love it to this day!
    Coming from a broken family, and with many circumstances that would shock the average Christian of that day, it was a truly healing and glorious time in my life to be a part of the service, worshiping our Glorious God with my broken family and with others.

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  4. Hi Shelly - Thanks for the encouraging words. I grew up going to many different churches. Some with a Sunday school and some without. I love my time in the adult services and those memories are the most precious. I accepted Christ when I was in an adult service. I would never give that up for anything. And Sunday school is actually a relatively new concept that you will not find in the early church.

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