I’m Going to Have to Take My Kid to Big Church With Me?!?
As churches reopen, the large majority are opening without kids’ ministry. I totally get that this does not sound exciting to parents with young children. But, what if it is not all terrible?
When my kid was about three years old, she broke loose from me in church to dance in the aisle and also to “shake her booty” to the choir. That was, perhaps, not our finest moment, but it was one of the funniest. We still talk about it eleven years later.
While I believe strongly in kids’ ministry (it is my job after all), I also believe there is enormous value in families having worship experiences together. It is so interesting to me that God has ordained this time. Remember, none of this situation surprises Him. He knew that our families would spend two months worshipping at home together. He knew that our churches would be multi-generational for a season. What if this is part of the point of this crazy season? Let’s discuss some of the positive aspects of worshipping together, even with little ones.
– They get to see their grown ups worship. Kids will learn about worship and experience worship in kids ministry. But sometimes we neglect the importance of kids experiencing the corporate setting. There is something powerful that happens in little ones’ hearts when Daddy is holding them and singing out to Jesus. I believe even when they are wiggly, they notice what it looks like for their parents to worship the Savior. And sometimes they join in. And it is beautiful.
– They get to see the other grown ups in their world worship. Typically in church we sit with the people we do life with. In this season of quarantine, that may mean six feet away. But, kids will see their friends’ parents, their babysitters, their “big” friends, and other people who they have relationships with in church. They get to observe these people who play important roles in their lives worshipping God.
– They absorb a whole lot more than we think. When my oldest was about four years old, I would take her to “big church”. I made her participate in the singing and worship, but allow her to color and draw during the sermon (no offense, pastors). I was consistently amazed at how even when I thought she was totally engaged in markers and papers, she would pop up to answer Pastor’s question or whisper something to me that was totally related to what he was talking about.
– We want them to see baptism and communion. I realized once that kids who only go to kids’ worship for all of their elementary and preschool years could potentially not see baptism or the Lord’s Supper in action until 6th grade. These are such essential parts of church life and it is good for them to experience these sacraments early on.
– They can learn what big church life is all about. Several years ago red flags popped up in my own spirit as I watched 6th graders struggle with the transition of moving on to big church. They just didn’t want to. After all, they didn’t play games and jump around with motions in there. It wasn’t “fun”. I think that is a disservice on our part. While our motivation is not necessarily to make sure our kids know how to sit still in church, I think it is ok for them to learn that church isn’t always high-entertainment. It is more than the kidmin activities we provide. And, honestly, it does not hurt for them to learn that sometimes we sit and are quiet, even if we don’t really want to be. That’s life!
– We are creating spiritual memories. They are not big huge Disney World type memories. They are those tiny precious, captured moments. I don’t know if my girls will remember much of it, but I will never forget listening to my girls sing “Worthy, You Are Worthy” so sweetly and out loud together. I will never forget holding Brenna as a baby and singing “God of this City” and asking God to use her to change the world. That’s probably a selfish reason. But there you have it.
I do live in the real world and recognize that real life experiences with kids in church are not easy. We don’t get to just sit and worship God and have a break from parenting. There is definitely value in that as well. But just because it is hard, doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for it to be meaningful. Every week will not be sunshine and roses. Many moments will be frustrating. But isn’t that parenting in general?
Stay tuned for a post tomorrow in which we will discuss practical strategies for taking your kids to big church.