At Bloomingdale Church, there is a safe & welcoming nursery for children 0 through 3 years old. There is Children’s Church for children 4 years old through 4th grade. The nursery is available during and for the entirety of all worship hours and Adult Ed. Children 4 through 4th grade are invited at the halfway point of the worship service to Children’s Church where they continue in worship.
This is the third in a series of posts with tips for those with young children in church. To view previous posts, go to: bloomingdalechurch.org/youngfamilies
Almost every experience for a child is a new experience. When an infant first eats solid food she doesn’t immediately know how to hold a spoon. When she first starts holding a spoon, she doesn’t know what it’s for, so she flings her food across the room and pokes herself in the eye. Most people realize this for newborns and so we tend to be forgiving when they don’t know how to, for instance, walk or talk or eat. But, all children are continuing to learn through each new experience. Really, this is true for adults too, but we have the benefit of past experiences built upon one another.
A parent knows to guide his child through the early stages by helping the child learn simple things like rolling over, sitting up, eating solid food, walking, and talking. None of these are actually simple things, but there’s something instinctual about them.
The same is true about worship. Children are inherently spiritual, but they have not experienced worship yet. Children don’t have an idea of what’s happening in a church sanctuary during services. And so, those with young children in church need to guide their children through these experiences.
The third tip for those coming to church with young children is this: explain!
During the worship service, softly explain what’s happening and how they can participate. Again, almost every experience for a child is new. Although they are inclined to participate, they’re lost unless someone is there to help them. Here are some ways to quietly explain what’s happening in the church service:
- We are standing now to sing a song to God. [During songs.]
- We are bowing our heads and closing our eyes to talk to God. [During prayer.]
- We are saying out loud what we believe. [During recitation of creeds.]
- We are listening with our ears to hear God’s words to us. [During the reading of Scripture.]
- We are remembering how Jesus died for our sins and rose again to give us life. The red drink reminds us of Jesus’s blood that shed for us and the bread reminds us of Jesus’s body that he gave up for us. [During communion.]
After a little while of quietly and gently explaining these things, children will begin to participate.
Also, don’t be afraid to answer their questions when they ask them during the worship service!
A child’s eagerness to know about worship is one of things Jesus meant when he said, “For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.