Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What do you think Wednesday

When should our children be in church? Should we wait till they are one?two?three? Till they can recite the catechism? Till they can be quiet for more than five seconds together? I see kids younger than KayLynn in church and kids older than her in the nursery - so what do you think? And, do you think it is a black and white issue, or does it depend on the child? How did you come to your decision?

What we do: KayLynn has been in the service, except for the sermon, the last few weeks. Due to KayLynn's likeness to her mother, she talks a lot. It is hard for her to be quiet longer than a few seconds at a time. We are working on it at home so that she can get used to the idea. Probably we will start trying to have her sit through the whole service a little at a time. However, we don't want to exasperate her by expecting something that she is not yet able to do. We do want KayLynn to love church and enjoy fellowship with the body. I firmly believe that while we are mothers/fathers sometimes the worship that the Lord expects of us, is not always listening to the sermon; sometimes it is teaching our children to worship.


jbhinman said...

You know my thoughts on this issue. The most important thing is your child loves to go to Church!

Leanne said...

Well, having had one kid that tolerated the nursery and one that despised it, we have taken a slightly different approach with each boy. Though, with each boy, by 18 months we started having them sit in church till the sermon. As I recall, Levin was sitting in church with us for an entire service before two-not without trouble for as you know he still struggles. Philip started sitting with us much earlier, because he would not stay in the nursery, no matter the person or how many times we tried.

Now, I cannot stress enough the differences these two boys share. Most Sundays Philip will sit through an entire service with little to no trouble, while Levin still struggles. Is it because we used a different method discipline in our training, or having given them different guidlines? No, we have done the same things with each boy and have gotten very different results. One child naturally sits more still and quietly then the other. This is evident outside of church. All that to say that yes, each child is different. Even as different as they are, we have still expected much of the same.
We do not leave our boys to simply sit with nothing to look at or do-that I feel is a whole other topic. Bringing quiet books and coloring has been what has worked best for our boys, though I feel sometimes its a game to find the thing that will keep them the quietest.
As we go through the singing, praying, etc. we have tried to have the boys participate. This has not been our strong point of late, for which I know. But, I feel that is a way to help them feel as part of the worship service with us. They each get to put a piece of money in the offering plate, and through singing hymns at home, they will even know and be able to sing/hum some of the tunes with us. We have also worked on learning the Lords prayer with them, which gives them another way to feel as though they can participate with us in worship.

Some months ago as Aria, and I discussed the struggles and yes, discouragment of training our children in worship she shared with me a quote from Doug Wilson that was encouraging to me. Hope you will find it so, as I did.

Tina said...

Leanne, I love the quote. It is exactly this...

"But the life of Christ is not best represented by listening to a lecture, undistracted by anything. The life of Christ is pulled in many directions, just like you are being, and you are willing for this to happen so that your children may come to worship the Lord. Laying it down for someone else this way is our glory. It is a sacrifice to bring them to the Word, to the psalms, to the wine and to the bread."

How perfectly put. This is exactly what we need to remember when we are teaching our children. I have also heard that teaching our children to worship IS our act of worship right now.

Alicia said...

After coming from a church where all children are expected to sit quietly, I was shocked to join this church down here where even teenagers were sent off to children's church! Nathaniel and I took a strong stance against that, and did our best to keep all of our foster children in church, including Emily who acted more like an 11 month old than a toddler when we first got her. It was so so hard, especially since I have to single parent during church, but she eventually got the swing of it. Part of that was because we don't have a nursery at our church, so if we did, I think I would have sent her in there, and I'm getting to the point where I really wish Jeremiah could go in one too. It takes a lot of work, and lately I've been feeling like I get NOTHING out of the sermon, or even worship, but I'm depending on common grace and the fact that we are there to somehow sink into our hearts.

I have no idea what the right age is, or what is more important, spending the whole service training your child, or seeing that you yourself get fed. It doesn't seem like you can have both at once. I think I get especially frustrated lately because it isn't like Jeremiah is learning how to sit in church, so I spend most of the time keeping him quiet. I knew parenthood would be a sacrifice physically and emotionally, but I wasn't prepared for the spiritual sacrifice too.

I liked that quote Leanne had, it is a helpful reminder, especially when I want to burst into tears right in the middle of church (which I have done before. Recently.)

Good topic, thanks for bringing it up!

Erika said...

My feeling is pretty much just try to get them to realize it's worship and that it's corporate, they are part of that church body as they were baptized and promised into it. We have tried to keep Ezra in as much as possible, but he is learning to talk, and it's not very easy to make him realize the difference, but we try. And I expect that it will be something we work on for the next few years, but we plan on him being in the service.

sharika roland said...

yes bring her in. I love the quote you posted above.She will not bother anyone.
With Max and you both there I think it will be wonderful for her . And me. then I can see her more and it will be an incentive for me to go to the early service, although do you go to early still or later now that Max has Sunday off??