What Our 5 Year Old Gains From Being In Church With Us

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Encouragement, Why Kids In Worship

I read this from a young woman as she reflected on her childhood:

“Our family went to church together every Sunday.  I wasn’t really sure why, but I didn’t mind.  I got to dress up in cute dresses and sit with my dad.  He was so busy during the week, and church was one time I got to hang out with him for hours.  I didn’t care if it was in a pew listening to some guy talking about God.  I just drew pictures and showed them to my dad.”

Our 5 year old, Bethany, loves sitting on my lap during church.  She sings, draws and colors.  Sometimes she is restless, but I know she is listening.  One Sunday, after getting our new senior pastor, I was talking too long during our “greet one another” time and she said, “Daddy, stop talking!  The new guy is speaking.”

So sweet.  So innocent.

I love having Bethany in there with us.  I know she is young, but she is gaining an experience every Sunday that so many children are missing.  She gets to snuggle with me and other close friends and adopted grandmas that sit with us.  She is hearing other people pray.  She is seeing her mom and dad, other kids, teenagers, adults and grandparents sing and praise God.  She is hearing the pastor’s stories and maybe even getting more of the message than we think. She sees communion, baptisms, testimonies.  Maybe one day she will help pass the offering plate, handout bulletins, sing in the band, lead a prayer.

She also experiences a community that loves Jesus, young and old!  I frankly, want her to grow up and feel out of place when she attends a church with only kids her age!  Why?  Because there is complete community when multi-generations are present.

Trust me, I know it’s not always easy having our young children in worship.  Have any of your kids smacked the bottoms of ladies as they walked down the aisle to partake in communion?  I don’t think so!   (One of our boys was the guilty perpetrator.  I wonder where he learned that from? )

What they gain from the Body of Christ worshiping together is so much more than just whether or not they get anything from the sermon.   They miss being a part of the full body.

Typically, the kind of worship experience our kids grow up with will be the kind they look for when they are older.   What kind of worship experience will your children desire to belong to as they grow into adulthood?  Most of the time, it will look a lot like it does now.   So the next question is: what are the experiencing on Sunday mornings now?

Helping you have Homes Devoted,
Jonathan

2.5 Years After Saddleback Cancels Youth Worship: Follow up Interview with Josh Griffin

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Ideas, Why Kids In Worship

Our first interview was 5 months after Saddleback started canceling youth worship once a month to have families worship together, appropriately called: Worship Together Weekend. As expected, everyone was excited about the change…at first….

In this second interview with Josh, we talk about the importance of kids in worship, what Saddleback has learned and how they have adjusted since starting Worship Together Weekends.

PS. My wife corrected me. Our boys were 3 and 5 years old…Not 5 and 7… 🙂 How time flies.

Saddleback Church Cancels Youth Worship: Interview With Josh Griffin

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Interviews, Why Kids In Worship

Youth Pastor at Saddleback, Josh Griffin, discusses why they decided to cancel student worship services on Sundays once a month to bring students into worship with their parents and the rest of the church.  Great insight for all of us as we think about including students and children in worship. (See more under the topic: “Why Kids in Worship”)

Questions for you or your small group:

When will children/teens see baptisms? Experience communion? When will they see parents worship, sing, pray, and be taught God’s Word?

What does your church do to include children/teens in worship?

At what age do you think children should be brought into worship?

Bringing your kids into church; an act of worship or an inconvenience?  How do you “train” your kids to sit in worship?

Why Kids In Worship? Its Not All About Them

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Why Kids In Worship

Welcome to another Homes Devoted minute…Hi. I’m Jonathan Cronkhite.  We are discussing the reasons our kids should attend worship services with their parents.

How do we want our children to view church worship?  Church worship should be about giving God our best, giving Him the glory, setting aside time to worship together and encourage each other, and it’s about growing closer and connecting to God through prayer and learning His Word.

Unfortunately, when our children ONLY go to the children’s program or youth Sunday School, they grow up thinking that coloring, crafts and hanging out with friends is what happens at church.  In short: church is fun.  If I can be honest: It’s a lot more entertaining than reverent.  But what happens when it’s not fun anymore?  Even on Sunday mornings, lots of parents are too concerned about trying to meet their children’s needs [keep them entertained] and therefore feel guilty for bringing them into church, because it’s too boring.

Then they grow up and become teenagers (or we wait until they are in college) and we expect them to go to a worship service; to sit still, listen, to be reverent, respectful, hear the word of God taught and possibly take notes!  Then the battle begins!  I constantly hear parents complain, “My kids don’t want to go to worship.”   It’s because we have trained our kids to grow up thinking that church is all about them.  Which means we have not instilled a reverence for God; we have just brought the world’s attitude into the church that “it has to meet my needs or I’m out.”

Our job as parents isn’t to be their entertainment directors.  It’s to raise children who love and serve and respect and honor God.  We have to train our kids that sometimes learning about God and worshiping Him is not all fun and games; it’s not all about us.  Where in the Bible does it say that following God is full of fun times? Actually, it says we will face trials of many kinds.

Maybe if we trained our kids to sacrifice for God, trained them to lay down their lives for Him, they might experience a God that does come through for them.

Let’s impress our faith at home so our kids see how awesome God is and lets help our kids see how God is at work and how He answers prayers, how He protects and how He provides, so that when we come to worship they are also compelled to worship!  God deserves our reverence, our service, our worship.  He deserves an hour of our week where we surround ourselves with singing and reading the word and applying His Word to our lives.

Here are a few questions:

  • Why do you go to church?
  • Do you complain about church when it doesn’t meet your needs? (If parents discuss the entertainment value of the message and music, this contributes to the child’s thinking worship is to entertain them.)
  • When do you want your kids to start learning the real reason we go to church?

Why Kids In Worship? Shows Its Importance

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Why Kids In Worship

 

Welcome to the Family ministry moment.  I’m Jonathan and we are discussing the reasons kids should attend worship services with their parents…

How many times have you said: “eat your veggies or you don’t get dessert.”  “Clean your room or you are not going out.” If you are not in by curfew, you’re grounded for the week!”  Our kids know these things are important to us, they know we value them, because if they don’t comply, they know there are consequences. If we force them to brush their teeth, eat their vegetables, clean their room, but make going to church optional, what are we communicating to them?   DO you put more emphasis on chores and doing homework than going to worship and reading the Bible?

Many parents don’t want to force their kids to go to church or read the bible and the reasons seem legitimate; they want it to be their decision.  They don’t want to force God on them in fear that their kids will rebel and never want to go to church again.  But, when we make going to church optional, we are communicating to them that it really isn’t important.  We are in essence, saying, “If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to.  It is important to me, but it’s not that important if you don’t go. But if you don’t clean that room of yours, you will have serious consequences, young lady.”

Going to worship and reading Gods Word should be the most important things we do together as a family.  And just like there are consequences for not cleaning their room, our kids should have consequences if they have a bad attitude about going to church. In Joshua 24.15, he says, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Joshua didn’t go and ask everyone.  He knew he had to lead his family.  And today, parents have a God given responsibility to lead their family, to model what a follower of Christ does. I hope you communicate to your kids that attending worship is way more important than cleaning their room, brushing their teeth or being in by curfew…

I know what you’re thinking: MY kids give me such a hard time about going to church. If you are one of those parents, we will be discussing how to make church more relevant to your kids, so come back to hear more. Leave a question or comment and I promise to answer every one as we strive to have homes devoted!

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