Children in the Worship Service

Spears Boy Children in Church

When our children were young, we made the decision to keep them in the worship service with us on Sundays. We wanted them to learn how to worship alongside us. We wanted them to hear the singing and learn to sing with us. We wanted them to be in the presence of the saints while we prayed, while we heard the Word preached, while we read the Word responsively, while we recited the creeds, while we gave back a portion of all He had given us. We wanted them to be a part of the church so that they would stay a part of the church when they grew up.

John Piper has posted an excellent article on this subject — “Should Children Sit Through ‘Big Church?'”¬†— that I heartily recommend. In that article he refers back to an earlier article — “The Family: Together in God’s Presence” — that he and his wife wrote in 1995. In that article Noel Piper outlines wonderfully practical ways to actually prepare and help a child be able to participate in the church’s worship service.

Teaching a child to quietly and respectfully sit in the worship service is a challenging task, but so worth the effort! Take the time to read these helpful articles! Pray about them. What can you take from them that will bless your children?


(Photo: Bert Coombs)

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  1. Thank you for this article of encouragement! We attend a church where the children are encouraged to attend “their own services”. We are the “oddballs” of the congregation! What a blessing this reminder is of why we do what we do! Perfect timing!!!!

  2. Wonderful! We had been the “oddball” family for many, many years,keeping our children with us, until we found a church that did not offer a separate class for little ones. In fact, at one church we attended in the past, we had ushers come up and tell us to keep the kids quiet because they were taping the service. Praise God more and more churches are including families in their services!
    P.S. I have also observed that children regularly kept with their parents during church services tend to be more behaved, since they have learned to be reverent.

  3. We were the odd family as well. Our Church did not allow our oldest now grown children to attend service with us. They also discouraged the children to study “real” bible. Instead they were read the bible stories with no context. We were in our 20s and so we did not speak up. Fast forward we have run a Group Home for adults with disabilities in our home 30 years. So we started having Church at home and then eventually live stream with a church. The adults did not want to attend, or were like now (2 near death) and unable to attend. We can’t afford to pay someone to care for them. But for 30 years we have had the freedom for our children to learn bible like the oldest children still sadly struggle with. I could not believe how young they were when they could remember where Scripture was, and read the Living Word with new understanding as they grew!! They are 15,14,13 and 12 now.
    We have 21 children, 17 are adopted, 4 by birth.(altogether they are ages 9yrs to 40 yrs old) Of the adopted 10 have special needs and are unable to read.

    This is a great post! Thank you for the links!

  4. We raised 11 children in adult church services. It was important for us that they participate with us in worship. Their spirits are so sentive to the Father and Jesus that, we believed, that even when they did not understand all that was happening around them, their spirits did. The only time we used the nursery was when they were between 18 months and 3yrs. We didn’t use it always, but when they were just being young and boisterous they spent some time with other children so those around us were not interrupted. They heard the theologically sound lyrics of old hymns, they heard the Word read, they hear pastors teaching from the Word, verse by verse, sharing the truth from ages past, still relevant for us today. They learned to sit quietly, and they watched those around them; they stood up when everyone stood up, prayed when everyone prayed, sang when everyone sang and sat quietly when everyone sat quietly, most of the time. I did spend some time in the mother’s room, or outside the service where I could hear the pastor, but they were not bothering others. Now that they are all grown I look back and that practice is one I would do with my children if I had it to do over again. It was one choice we made for our family that I am content and very happy with.

  5. Thank you for the article. I grew up in a church that had children’s programming, but now attend a church that does not. I have struggled with the idea that there is no children’s church, but this article opened my eyes to the importance of my children being with my husband and I in church. Thank you again!

  6. Thanks for recommending those resources from the Pipers. We have travelled a lot, and experience many types of churches. I’m sure other families have viewed us with exasperation (or at best pity)…we’ve struggled for years on how to teach our children to behave in church. At times we’ve wondered if it is even worth it to go. When attending where children’s church is held concurrently with the main service, we have felt relief, because otherwise parental worship was impossible due to constant disciplinary issues. The article helped us have a special lesson at home today, telling the children what worship is, and then practicing how to act in church. They’re not old enough to write, but they draw well, so we practiced how “take notes” by listening and then drawing. I plan to do more practice sessions, and I have great hope that it will improve our ability to worship as a family. Thanks again!