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Children in Church?

Children in Church?

My husband Curt and I had been at the church for a few months when a mom approached me after service. “I don’t know what to do. Jim Junior and his friend sat there playing hangman all through the sermon.”

The boys were twelve, recent graduates of the junior church program. Evidently, Mrs. Miller felt a pastor’s wife, especially one with grandchildren, could solve her dilemma. I said, “Well, perhaps they’re just getting used to staying with the congregation.”

She replied, “I made them leave their electronics behind, but they still managed to avoid paying attention. I need help to get my son in line.”

“Let me talk to Curt and see what he says. We’ve encouraged parents on this issue before.” Thus began another round of sharing our perspective on guiding the next generation into the practice and blessings of corporate worship. Curt agreed it was an opportunity to present our view of what the Bible has to say about including children in the gathering of the saints.

Two weeks later, parents and others chatted together as they found seats. A sense of expectation tinged with uncertainty flavored the room. Curt began by presenting biblical principles on the topic. I continued with a candid account of our family’s experience from that position. The thrust of our words was the mutual responsibility of parents and congregations to prepare children to participate in the worship of our Holy God.

By God’s grace, parents took up the challenge to expand their influence in the lives of their children. It was an adventure for all of us. Parents explained expectations ahead of time and focused on helping their children engage. Little voices joined in familiar songs with emphasis on the closing amen. Young hands added coins to the offering, and raised to share requests during prayer.

Jim’s mama had six more summers with her son. How many summers do you have to teach and demonstrate true worship to your child?

Do not confirm any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

By: Sandra Allen Lovelace is a continuing missionary, a pastor’s wife emeritus, and a homeschool pioneer. She’s a well-respected speaker and author known for her candor and warmth. Visit Sandra at her website at and learn more about her book Children in Church: Nurturing Hearts of Worship on Amazon.

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