Children Are More Than Welcome at Our Worship Services

Every year I am asked,

“Is there childcare at your special Easter services?”

I’m asked that about all worship services, but especially when we do something different like our upcoming nights of worship.  While we will have optional, regular childcare during our Sunday morning services, we are intentional about not providing childcare during our special nights of worship on Good Friday and Saturday.  Here’s why:

We want the children in there with the adults because so did Jesus.

Listen, I am fully aware of the unpredictable nature of children.  I have my embarrassing stories of what my children have done and you have yours.  We can share them one day and laugh really hard at all that they have said and done.  But I need you to know that they are more than welcome to come.

One day, people were bringing children up to Jesus so that he could be around them and pray for them.  Smart parents.  I can’t think of anyone else I would rather have my children be in close proximity to other than Jesus!

The disciples were annoyed by it though.  They actually rebuked the parents for bringing their children to something so special that only grownups should be a part of.  They wanted to ban the children from coming to the meeting.  They wanted to keep the children away from grownup Jesus.

Jesus’ response?

“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  -Matthew 19:14

Jesus laid his hand on them.  He prayed for them.  Jesus loved children, and I tend to believe they loved him too!  Joy respects joy.

The Cons to Children in Worship Services

  1. They might embarrass you.  True, but you will look back at it one day and laugh.  I promise we all have our stories.  If they become a tad unruly and need a stretch break, we always have the service on screens in the commons area where there are plenty of places for children to release the wiggles.  If they start crying, do what you would do anywhere else and take care of the tears.  Kids aren’t perfect and neither are their parents!  But you might be surprised at all that is going on at how engaged they are.  My kids have come every night at every age and loved it!
  2. They might annoy someone else.  True, but maybe those people need to be annoyed.  Change often comes after annoyance.  If they are like the disciples upset with the presence of children, maybe God will use your kids to bring some needed joy into their lives.
  3. They will be extra work.  True, you will be less relaxed with them there, but think about the benefit it will bring them.  What if they happen to grasp the gospel and see their family worshiping Jesus with passion?  The extra work will bring an incredible benefit.  Let’s look at some of those.

The Pros to Children in Worship Services

  1. They bring joy.  I love the picture of Parker at the top of this post.  This was taken at our Easter services a few years ago when we let our kids join the adults on stage for a song celebrating the Triumphal Entry.  It was rowdy.  It was joyful.  And it was contagious.  How can you not look at the joy in Parker and want to smile and sing along?  I think Jesus loved having kids in there because adults can just get too stuffy at times.
  2. They bring accountability.  I understand the need to be engaged during worship for my own soul’s sake, but how much more when little eyes are looking!  I want my children to see Dad passionate about Jesus.  I want them to see me making notes in my Bible.  I want to avoid yawning, tight-lipped, arms-crossed, inaudible passerby worship attendance.  I want them to see their father enamored with Jesus.  There is a good chance they will repeat my engagement in worship.  Evaluating my participation right now, is that a good thing?
  3. They bring opportunity.  Every year, I hear stories of children responding to the gospel in our Easter nights of worship.  We have had children go back from a program where our worship team wrote the music and they go home and write their own worship songs to Jesus.  We have children remembering moments from the night as they listened to the CD and have their affections drawn closer to Jesus.  Yes, it is work to have them there, but parents need to stop making worship and church about their comfort in the first place!  We have been blessed in order to be a blessing, so bring those children in there with you and watch God at work!

How can we celebrate Jesus while barring the kids for whom he invited to come near?

3 thoughts on “Children Are More Than Welcome at Our Worship Services”

  1. Here’s the hard part: it’s not about you and your kids. It’s about the lost. If distracting children prevent one lost person from engaging in a message, the church has failed. Children deserve an environment where they can be kids and still learn about Jesus in a way that is relevant to them.
    I attend a church that allows kids in service. It’s fine. I don’t mind. But I also recognize that my church isn’t exactly seeking the lost. It’s growing the found. Both churches have their place in the kingdom and in this community.
    For you to passive aggressively bash a seeker friendly church’s policies–lets just get it out there–NewSpring, is incredibly proud and self-righteous.
    This is very disappointing from a ministry leadership perspective. I do hope you all enjoy your worship services.

    • Thanks for the comments. Just to clarify:
      What if the kids are lost? What if the reason so many college students are leaving the church is because we have isolated the family from one another and nothing spiritual takes place in the confines of a home?
      Also, I don’t want to limit God working and think that a child could hinder someone’s salvation. If God can be hindered by a child, we are all in trouble.
      I can PROMISE that I had no passive aggressive reasoning behind another church’s strategies. This week, our phones and emails have had floods of questions regarding childcare. This is my response I posted for people talking to us about our program.
      Thank you for not being passive aggressive with me – hope this clarifies it for you.

  2. I think it’s great that children are allowed at your services. I agree they come with their own set of difficulties, but they also have a lot of positives to them as well. The opportunities are endless, and I personally think the positives outweigh the negatives. Thanks for sharing!

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