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Church that Works for Children

If you want to have a good experience with your little ones in church, you need to plan ahead. Planning ahead for us included starting our preparation way before we arrived in church. It is good to start talking about church (in very positive terms), from the moment you leave church and then continue that type of conversation through the week and especially on Saturday. Fuel your children with anticipation for what God may teach them (and you) the next day, talk about how blessed we are to get to meet together for church, explaining that some children never get to experience this in other countries.

Even very young children can be prepared for Sunday.

Children can understand our communication (tones, facial expression, emotions, and some words) at a much younger age than we often realize. As early as 3–6 months of age, begin having “talks” with your child about the importance of church, why we sit quietly in church, how good it is to learn about Jesus and God’s love for us.

Help children learn to connect the good things they’ve been given to the God we go to “meet with” at church.

Through the week, point out to them things Jesus is doing in their life (growing beautiful flowers and pretty colors in the sunset for us to see, giving them a warm bed to sleep in, good food to eat, toys to play with, fun things to laugh about, etc) and encourage them to thank Jesus for these things through the week.

Slow down, prepare hearts, and bed down early on Saturday.

We live in a hectic, fast-paced, society filled with constant activities, but we’ve always felt it was important to try to protect our Saturday evenings and curtail late night events if possible. Sunday morning will go much smoother if the children are able to get to bed at a decent time the night before. Sunday mornings will be more meaningful for the entire family if the family is able to use a portion of Saturday evening preparing their hearts for the service. It is helpful to spend some time talking about the passage that will be covered and praying together asking God to speak, praying for the pastor, the praise team, praying for God to work. This is also a great time to specifically pray for your children to be spiritually receptive during the service.

How are you preparing your children for their church experience?

2 Comments

  • Debbie S

    I became convinced years ago that the Church is under attack by Satan every Sunday morning. For a number of years there was a great deal of stress in our home and/or in the car on the way to church because we hadn’t prepared the night before and that we were rushing out the door to another event, not preparing to meet with the Lord. And of course, with all that tension our worship was not what it should have been.

    I think the Jewish tradition of a sundown to sundown timetable to Sabbath observance is something that we as Christians should reexamine. Setting our lives and more importantly our hearts in order in advance of actually setting foot in the church building will go along ways to staving off Satan’s attacks.

    Personally I would also like to see a return to an encouragement by church leadership to observe a moment of silence before worship begins. Sometime people are talking so loudly over the prelude music that I begin to wonder why the music is even being played. Oh well, that’s a personal preference. I would suggest allowing plenty of time to get to the building and shift the expectation of visiting with people until after the service. After all we are meeting with the King of the Universe in His house and we must be prepared to enter His presence in fear and reverence.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Oh, Debbie, I am totally with you on this! Yes, we are meeting with the King of the Universe . . . and “we must be prepared to enter His presence in fear and reverence.” And in order to do that, it takes preparation and forethought.

    I am thankful to be part of a body that is excited to greet each other on Sunday morning, but our leadership had concerns that we were SO excited in fellowship with one another that many didn’t even notice the service was starting! Lots of happy, boisterous activity going on . . . there is a time and place for that, but there also is a time and place for sober reflection and heart preparation, and it is difficult to do that in the midst of loud activity. Our pastor now comes to the front to lead everyone in some moments of thoughtful reflection and prayer before the music portion of the service begins and we’ve found that helps to get our hearts settled and focused.

    Thank you for your comment, so good to “hear your voice” here on the blog again 🙂