Children's Church? What age is too old?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by dianetavegia, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    I've been in churches that had wonderful 'Junior Church' services and then others that had no children's church. Our church has a children's church service for those up through grade 2. We have a children's church for older Hispanic children whose parents are in the Spanish service upstairs. That was a decision made by the Hispanic parents and their pastor.

    How does your church handle this? Do you have lots of children in your church?

    Diane
     
  2. Kidz-4-HIM

    Kidz-4-HIM
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    Messages:
    405
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our children's church is in two groups; pre-primary, and junior church, (Grade 1-4)
    We have about 20-25 most of the time, sometimes more.
     
  3. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ours has two groups, age 2-3 and 4-6. There are maybe 20-30 in the two groups combined.
    We have a hispanic service too Diane, they meet in the fellowship hall(basement) while we meet upstaris for worship, our hispanic missionary leads the worship with them.
     
  4. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    We keep those 4 and under in their Sunday School rooms with Extended Care workers who rotate. The actual Children's Church is for K- 2nd grade. I helped with it until Sept. but now that I teach S/S 4 year olds and Wednesday nights the 3-4 year olds in Cubbies (AWANA Club's for little ones) I felt I needed to be in service!

    I think, by 2nd or 3rd grade the kids need to be in church. One church we were in had all the children over 3 come into the service and the pastor would call them forward for a children's sermon and then we'd take them out for Children's Church. They had to sit still and behave for about half the service. Good learning time!

    Donna, we have about 40 total in our Hispanic group. Many cannot speak English well at all. Basic phrases.... the kids do well tho.

    Diane
     
  5. Kathy

    Kathy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,541
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think there should be alternatives for children until they are in high school (9th grade?), provided the church has the resources and the man (or woman) power. Sometimes the Pastor is teaching on marital stuff and of course, sex comes up and what not or even just expositorily teaching from the Bible, sex will come up...not that it's a bad thing, but if you aren't ready to explain what your child heard (provided they are even paying attention) you'll look like a deer caught in the headlights...hehe!

    I think children's church that is age appropriate is an AWESOME way to get the most out of our kids time at church. The preaching is geared specifically to them. I know they have Sunday School for this too, but sometimes the family only comes to one service and that is church, not Sunday School.

    Ok, I'm rambling...hope ya'll got my point ;)

    Kathy
    <><
     
  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    I'm torn between the benefit of children's church and the need for children to interact with adults in regular worship.

    We always had primary church (K-3rd) and junior church (4-6th). Beyond that they sat in auditorium with their family or in a designated section.

    See many smaller churches having children in the worship until the preaching, then go to a place for an age-sensitive story and perhaps singing. Just don't think it is a place for the rowdy, boistrous songs of camp or SS opening. IT should be preparing them for attending regular worship and sleeping through sermons like the deacons. :rolleyes:
     
  7. vaspers

    vaspers
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am 100% on your side there, Dr. Bob.

    Jesus did not have "children's church."

    He said, "Suffer the children to come to me," not "send those unruly brats downstairs for children's church."

    Our church has "Children's Church" and try as I might, I can't seem to stop the Junior High students from streaming down to it. They love the CCC: chaos, cookies, and craft projects.

    It's a worthless joke for the most part. The older ones, I'd say from 5th grade up, need to be in the adult service. Little kids too, but I can compromise and tolerate the little ones going downstairs for Children's Church. but I think it's not very edifying or disciplined down there.

    Dr. Bob you are funny with that comment above that I just looked at again. Train the children how to sleep through sermons like the deacons. Boy, you sure got that right.

    Our deacons also avoid Sunday School, stand outside and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes until the ordeal of Sunday School is safely over, then slip upstairs to go to sleep.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. dianetavegia

    dianetavegia
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    We have 2 sisters who organize our children's church and they do a really good job. Like I said, tho, it ends at 2nd grade. If the weather is nice, the kids are allowed to play on the big kids playground for a short time while all the children arrive. Once church has started, the kids are moved into a building where they are given snacks and juice. The 'service' begins with praise songs. Some are old children's favorites and others are the more contemporary songs we sing in service. That moves into a prayer request and praise time. After prayer, a lesson is taught. Children must be controlled and behave well during all the service time. Questions answered correctly about the lesson will win candy. If there is any time left, there may be a game of dodge ball or someother nerf type game until the parents come. The kids are actually in from 10:45 until usually 12:30.

    I don't allow Nick to sleep or eat in service but I will take along a 'find the word' puzzle that I make up on the computer off http://puzzlemaker.school.discovery.com/mazedthings/index.html
    I use a Bible verse or words that would have been in his Sunday School lesson. Sometimes I make a different type puzzle where he has to figure out what the verse was trying to tell him. We also have some Bible facts books or activity books that I might take a page from. I'd rather he be doing an activity (Bible Based) than squirm and disturb someone nearby.

    I tend to lean toward the concept of having the children in the service at first and then move them out for a lesson so they learn to sit quietly. I'm enforcing that in my 4 year old Sunday School class. They aren't allowed ANY form of play until we've sung our praise songs, colored our sheet that goes along with my lesson, heard the lesson, answered questions about what they've learned and then go over the Bible verses for that week until we can say them together. It's hard for a brand new kid to come into a brightly colored room with one side filled with toys, a playground right outside the door... and two teachers who want them to come and sit! Rules are rules!

    Diane
     
  9. Jeffrey H

    Jeffrey H
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    1
    We have a "children's church" through the 3rd grade. Children's church generally starts before the sermon. I'm not a fan of children's church, but I don't fight against it either.

    I'm not sure what started the trend toward children's church. Lazy parents who don't want to deal with their children during worship? Our church avoided "children's church" for a long time, but we finally buckled under pressure from other churches that were offering it. We caved in to competition so we could appear "relevant" and "progressive".

    Children should be with their adult parents or guadians during worship. And, they need to hear the "adult" sermon given by their pastor. Yes, they will get bored at times, but they do and will remember the singing, the prayers, and sermon more than we may realize. They need to see their parents worshipping God and how that is important to them.

    I am pleased to say, however, that our children's church is not a "goof off" time, but a good time of solid teaching and singing. There is structure that the kid's are expected to follow.
     
  10. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    First of all, children's church is NOT for 'sending those unruly brats' someplace else. If the pastor for the regular service is preaching in such a way as to challenge the Christian adults, or educate them, then the sermon will be, for the most part, WAY above the heads of most kids.

    It is important to remember, too, that when the children were in the crowds listening to Jesus, they were outside, where they could sit down, stand up, pick flowers, wander around a bit, etc. Not exactly the same as church! Nor do most ministers have the same appeal and ability to communicate that Jesus did...

    But perhaps children's church should be optional for the family, too. If a family wants their child or children to remain, then that should be fine. In addition, most of the churches we have visited and attended which have children's church keep the kids with the parents until right before the sermon, so they ARE worshiping with their parents, and learning the hymns and worship songs.

    The age at which children's church should be stopped and the youngsters kept with their parents the entire time is a matter of both the parent's choices and the preaching style of the pastor. I can remember being more interested in the pastor's sermons when I was in the fourth and fifth grade than I have been in some in some churches in the past decade! If the preacher does not have the ability to speak in such a way that the children can maintain interest this does NOT mean he is a bad pastor! Everyone has separate skills. But the kids should be allowed to listen to someone who does communicate the same material and lesson on their level.

    Then encourage the parents and kids to talk about what they heard on the way home or at Sunday dinner. Both will learn. Sometimes, seeing things through a child's eyes can be quite revealing!

    Some churches have crayons and papers for the little ones during service when there is no children's church. This is a waste of crayons and the kids' time in the interests of 'keeping the family together.' The kids are sure not there mentally!

    It is not lazy parents which begat children's church, but parents who 1) wanted time to worship and learn quietly and 2) wanted the same for their children. Remember, it's those 'lazy' parents who fund children's church and, in the case of the church in our old home where I was the education director (fancy name for scheduling and ordering materials and holding meetings for the pastor and teachers at our home!), it was the parents who did the most work, helping teach and as aides during children's church -- taking turns so other parents could have that quiet time with other Christians, worshiping and learning.

    It is not lazy to consider your children worth a little extra effort or to understand that they will need a few years on them before they can learn in the same way adults do.

    Age? Children's church is definitely beneficial up until grades 2 or 3, even 4, with an 'iffy' area, depending on the style of the pastor, up until about junior high.
     
  11. donnA

    donnA
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    23,354
    Likes Received:
    0
    Diane, we have an ESL class for hispanics, so they are always improving their english. Soon we will have a basic spanish class. We have two different hispanic ministries, one ofr migrant workers,a dn the other for hispanics who have now choosen to live here.
     
  12. Karen

    Karen
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2000
    Messages:
    2,610
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dear vaspers,
    Please note Helen's great post. It is up to the parents where their junior high kids need to be.
    (My junior high kid sits right beside us.)

    Karen
     
  13. j_barner2000

    j_barner2000
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Messages:
    888
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am mixed on Children's church. I was the director of Children's ministries until the 1st of March, but the pastors decided I had paid my dues and moved me to work with other ministries. ( I am a 38 year old pastoral intern)
    We built the Children's Church ( I actually had members suggest it to me because of seating considerations and since I mentioned it was given the job of building the ministry.) with the mission statement "to teach and prepare our children to actively and constructively participate in worship." We have a replica of the adult worship in the format, however the content is aimed at a 1-6 th grade education and maturity level. Works out well and the kids are learning. The preacher can preach to challenge tha adults and the kids are not bored.

    However. ... . In Old Testament times, the whole family worshipped together. A church I am talking to has decided that they would have all services together as a whole congregation. Sunday school, Worship and Wed Bible study and Prayer meeting, all of the family all together studying and praising and worshipping Him as a group. The pastor and other folks I have talked to say the church is closer knit and the families are closer knit than many other congregations around them.

    It works for them and that is how the Lord led them to do things. The main point is that you follow the Lord's leading
     
  14. Debby in Philly

    Debby in Philly
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    2,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    I run "Sunday Bible School" from 9:30-12:00 on Sunday morning. This includes kids from grades K-6. This takes place while Jr. High and up have traditional Sunday School from 9:30-10:30, and morning worship from 10:45-12:00.

    Many of my kids come on their own and would not have adults to sit with in the worship service. And some who are accompanied by adults do not have their families arrive until the worship hour, so they need kid-level instruction when they are here in order to learn. Also, until now, the service was sufficiently "boring" to kids so as to be asking for trouble if they were there. I say "until now" because our new pastor is slowing changing the worship service to be a little more contemporary in the beginning, and I may eventually take them in for the singing and so forth when the transition is complete.
     
  15. Jeffrey H

    Jeffrey H
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    1
    Helen,

    You're exactly right. The parents do not want to be interrupted by their children. They don't want to face the possible inconvenience of having to discipline their children during worship. You're also right on point #2: We have children's church because the parents want it and they fund it. If they don't get it, they will go to another church. I speak from experience - we lost many visitors to other churches before we started a children's church.

    Discipline, instruction, and worship begins at home. If my children misbehave during worship, there will be consequences for their actions. They understand from the beginning that misbehaving is disrepectful to those around them. To help them behave and prevent boredom, we have kid's worship folders and coloring books to occupy them during the sermon.

    Please don't take my remarks personally. I'm sure you're doing a great work at your church and a blessing to those that serve there.

    I still have to ask. Where was children's church in the past 2000 years of church history? What has happened in the past few years that has caused people to demand children's church?
     
  16. vaspers

    vaspers
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am so blessed by all the posts on this interesting topic. diane and helen, all of you are doing great things.

    I agree that it should be optional, not enforced. I believe both in the entire family worshiping together...and in a need for a separate Children's Church for various good reasons.

    I must say this: wife and I attended a Lutheran church a while back, one I went to for every Saturday night service to have a spiritual experience on Saturday nights, a few years ago. I really loved the church, the people, and the pastor.

    But--what a disappointment--on Sunday morning, which I had never gone there for this service before--children ruined the entire service!

    A 15 year old and her 9 year old sister (guessing ages) wrestled and whispered in the pew in front of us the whole time. I was tempted to say, "We're visitors. We need to hear this service and sermon. How about going outside if you want to play and fight?" I nearly did this.

    Then a little toddler stood on a mommy's lap and carried on a loud, distracting conversation the whole time. Both conversed like they were at home. I was freeeeked out, let me tell you.

    I plan to discuss this with the pastor (you know how I am) and politely suggest he get those ushers in gear to remove those who refuse to discipline their children, or who themselves contribute to disrespect and distraction. That's one of their duties, am I correct?

    Anyone got a reply to me on this?

    Children's Church? Unfortunately, may be needed.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. uhdum

    uhdum
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2001
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    0
    At our church, children's church on Sunday Morning is provided for grades 1-6. After this, the person is welcome in the youth group on Wednesday Nights (but comes into the main worship service Sunday Morning).

    Still, some of the 1st-6th grade children choose to attend the main worship service with their parents.
     
  18. uhdum

    uhdum
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2001
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    0
    You are correct; there has not always been children's church... nor Sunday School, Youth ministry, or specialized worship leaders. Even in the New Testament we find an evolving way of "doing church." I personally believe that, while the message and mission remain the same, the methods may change. I understand that all do not feel this way, but that is my opinion.
     
  19. vaspers

    vaspers
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    608
    Likes Received:
    0
    My wife and I subscribe to Youth Worker magazine and had been teaching Junior High Sunday School for a number of years, and working in Wednesday Night B.O.B. (Bunch of Believer) Youth Groups...

    ...have lost faith in the youth-oriented junk that many try to use to be relevant or fun.

    I produced a weekly newsletter that taught them solid doctrine, answers to atheist objections, how God proves He exists, how to share your faith, how to use a tract, the dangers and sin of witchcraft/Harry Potter/occult/psychics, etc.

    They need doctrine more than games and cookies.
    They soak up spiritual teaching like a sponge and ask great questions and remember things.

    Suggestion: www.christianfilms.com has wonderful Christian films with themes of witnessing, persecution at school, dating, friendship, moral dilemmas, and some are short and can be shown in Junior High Sunday School (if your church has that movie license thing).

    We showed The Fanny Crosby Story (in 2 parts, it's long), Travel the Road episodes, The Crime of the Century, and others. My favorite, shown twice to them, they loved it too: LATE ONE NIGHT.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Greg Linscott

    Greg Linscott
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/7963.jpg>

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    521
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is opinion and experience, so take it for what it's worth:

    I think that nursery and childrens church is as much (if not more) a ministry to parents as it is to children. I have three daughters, ages 5, 4 and (almost) 1. We are in a new church, which is about 75% smaller than our previous church. Our previous church had many children and a lot of children's ministries. Our new church is older, and has few young children. I am also preaching every service, which is much different for us than it was before (no one else to share the child-minding duties). My wife gets very little chance to listen and participate uninterrupted, because we only offer nursery and children's church in the AM, because those are the only services any young children besides our own generally come to. We are mindful that a young child can be a distraction to the mother and dad as well as everyone around them, so we strive to remove the source of the distraction as soon as we can.

    In children's church (during the AM service), we strive to make sure it is more than just "organized chaos." We have made use of the Childrens Church curriculum from Regular Baptist Press, which has been a wonderful tool in focusing the time in training the kids to worship. We only offer the program for children up to third grade. We also keep them through the song service, so they get a chance tpo learn how to sit in church and participate with mom and dad.
     

Share This Page

Loading...