Sunday School & Childrens church

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Many churches have Sunday School ( for children) during worship service. Some have children's church. What are your thoughts about this subject?

    Salty
     
  2. annsni

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    Well, I've heard the arguments for both having family oriented services and for having Sunday school and children's church. I understand the theory behind having the family services - where children stay with the parents through the whole thing but honestly, I think it's very difficult to practice. When my children were babies, I'd keep them with me through the worship time and then bring them to the nursery before the message so that I could fully concentrate on what was being taught. If I had a fussy baby or wiggly toddler, I could not have learned what I did. Maybe some moms can pay attention to the message and their child at the same time but I wonder how many around them can listen to the message and is that fair to everyone else?

    However, I don't like the idea that every child HAS to go to Sunday School or children's church and if they don't that something's wrong. But I don't think that the children should be made to sit through the whole service, which in our church is an hour and a half long and includes a 40-50 minute sermon. That's a lot for the majority of kids. That would mean that the church should provide a room for parents and children to go together so that the parents can try to listen and the kids can be with their parents without disrupting the rest of the congregation.
     
  3. menageriekeeper

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    It can be both good and bad.

    Our CC was fine for the oldest, she loved it, middle kid didn't usually care one way or the other and the youngest one hated it. :D

    I'm sure that certain things changed over the years, but there were overlap periods where two of them were in CC together and this was how it always was.

    I worked CC for about the last year, maybe a bit more and I have to say, I was always glad I'd gotten myself together and been there, but I got to where I dreaded the 3rd Sunday of the month. I've worked in the Children's programs for years doing various stuff, but CC was the hardest. The kids loved us, btw, and that 3rd Sunday always saw 20 or more kids (1st-3rd grades) a number we discovered was higher than the other Sundays (I promise you, God gives the increase!). But it absolutly wore me out. Keeping that many children busy after they have already sat still for an hour or more in SS is not an easy job.

    I also began to notice that the kids often had done similar stuff in SS and that too lead to more restlessness.

    So, if you are considering CC for your church my advice is:

    1. Make sure you have rotating teams, preferably enough so each team only does one Sunday a quarter. This is not feasable I know for smaller churches. Our church has five teams, one for each Sunday of the month. Team 5 doesn't work much!

    2. Do choose a cirriculum that does not imitate what you are doing in SS.

    3. Make certain you have enough adults to mind the children well. We had teams of two adults plus a couple of teenagers. The teens did things like supervising the straglers in the bathroom, running errands, finding parents in emergencies. Church is not like school, and CC adults are not going to have the training a school teacher will have. You need more adults in CC, especially if you have a mixed age group.

    4. separate the 1st-3rd graders from the younger ones. Our church has separate group for 4-5 year olds and the toddlers and babies are separate groups also.

    5. Kids older than 3rd grade need to go to church! We had gotten lax for a while and let all the way up to 6th grade go to CC. Guess who the behavior problems were? CC was merely a way of escaping 'big church' and they wanted to play not worship.
     
  4. Aaron

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    It depends on how the class or "children's church" is operated. If there is actual teaching where the kids are learning the word of God and interact in a quiet and reserved manner, fine. What is decent and orderly in the service for adults goes for children as well.
     
  5. youngmom4

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    We have children's church most Sundays, unless whoever is supposed to do it is not there for some reason. It starts with four year olds and goes up through either third or fourth grade...not sure. I know that my four and eight year olds go, while my twelve year old stays in the sanctuary with us, and the baby is in the nursery the entire time. I like having children's church because the younger kids just don't sit still during the message very well. They end up driving me nuts, and then we have to punish them for the rest of the day in an attempt to teach them proper behavior. :BangHead: I'd just as soon have them go to Sunday School and let me be able to concentrate on the message. :thumbs:
     
  6. David Lamb

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    I personally do not agree with it (though I am in no way criticising those who believe it is right). My main reason is that it means the Christians who are the Sunday School teachers are removed from the worship of the church, and the preaching of God's Word.

    I am uneasy with the term "children's church". In the bible, we read of "the church in Jerusalem", "the church of the Thessalonians", and so on, but never of "the church for children" (or "the church for old people" or "the church for slaves" or "the church for single people"). And unless the children concerned are already believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, it is (in my opinion) misleading to suggest that they are part of the church.

    My own church has its children's work (called "Foxtails" - from the fact that we are in an area called Foxhole) midweek.
     
  7. annsni

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    David - For our church, we have 2 church services which are identical. No one is allowed to serve in the nursery, Sunday School or anything without being at the other church service - it's part of the requirement of the leadership in our church. So while they will miss one service, not one person will miss both. :)
     
  8. Joseph M. Smith

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    I share David's unease with the term, "children's church". For me, church is an organization, or organism, not an activity. So I have always used the term, "children's worship".

    My daughter keeps on trying to attend worship with her three little ones so that grandpa can grin at them from the pulpit! But it is rarely successful ... something for small children during worship seems essential. We do a "children's parable" in the main service and then dismiss them. Trouble is there are so many leaving the sanctuary that I want to follow them down the aisle!! Not cool when you are expected to preach in a few minutes.
     
  9. bapmom

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    we have Sunday School, but we have it for all ages, not just the kids.

    Then we have everyone over 4 years old sit in the service. I used to think this wouldn't work, but if you start your little one taking notes right away they get used to sitting and listening. We've never let ours sit and color, but at 4yrs they can hold a pencil and make a mark. So we have them listen for a specific word from the preacher and then make a mark on their paper each time the preacher uses that word. Usually it is "God" or "Bible"....something we can be pretty sure will be a prominent word in the message. The child might not last through the whole service, especially at first, but if I can get a 4yr old to listen for 10 minutes in the sermon, then they pretty quickly learn how to listen for longre and longer, until when they are just a few years older they are taking actual notes and listening through the whole sermon.
     
  10. menageriekeeper

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    I think this is why CC made me as tired as it did. Unlike Ann's church ours only has one Sunday morning service so there is no second service to attend. Because of family obligations I don't get to attend Sunday nights.

    Sunday school now, was a much different thing as it is held before the service. When I taught SS, it didn't tire me nearly as much. Usually I was wishing for just another minute or two.

    Bapmom, I like your idea! :thumbs:

    I must say, even though I now sing in the choir and my kids are old enough to sit through the service unaccompanied (yeah, unaccompanied is relative to the fact that everyone knows whose kids they are and I can watch their every move), I much prefer having my kids with me while we worship.
     
  11. rbell

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    We have kids SS (all age groups as well) and a form of "Children's church."

    Our "Children's church" philosophy:
    • It will be biblically based and biblically sound.
    • It will be EXCELLENT...not a "babysitting" service.
    • All elements of worship will be represented--prayer, giving, preaching of the Word, singing, fellowship, etc.
    We offer "Kids Own Worship" for 4 & 5 year olds & first-graders. They leave when the offering is taken. Parents of first-time attendees are expected (required) to go with their kids & sign them in.

    Whenever a fifth Sunday occurs, we don't have Kids Own Worship, to facilitate that transition into "big church." We also don't offer it on Sunday nights...so there is an opportunity to transition.

    We didn't begin this until we had our team leaders in place. Some churches start this before they have the workers to do it...so they "burn out" their few overworked workers. Our team leaders must:
    • Be faithful members.
    • Have a passion for our kids.
    • Be willing to organize and lead a quality worship service.
    • Keep the staff informed of who helps them.
    • Keep accurate attendance records.
    • Get a criminal background check.
    Our Kids Own Worship leaders can be adults or select High-school students. We're picky.

    It's worked for us. Your mileage may vary. :D
     
  12. billreber

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    I have been working with grade-schoolers in SS for about 30 years. I have worked in CC in two different churches, in both of which I organized the CC.

    In both, we required the CC to be an actual worship service, with all of the traditional baptist elemnents (yes, even the altar call). One rule we set up for both CCs was that when someone asked Jesus into their life, the entire CC had to attend the "big church" next week so the child could go forward there, to talk with the pastor. In both churches, in the first service offered, had some child accept Jesus as Savior that day! That tells me that the children DO get something out of "big church", but that a CC environment MIGHT help them "go forward". It did in both of these cases. In fact, B. and C. are both now moms and active members at their churches!

    That said, I fully agree that there needs to be enough workers that nobody has to miss "big church" on a regular basis. That means constant effort by the leadership to keep dedicated children's workers (yep, I'm preaching to me!) from overworking themselves. That also means the pastor(s) need to support the children's ministry in this area as well.

    CC workers also need to be inventive. In one CC service I taught, the kids were restless, so I had them act out the Bible story (Daniel and the lion's den) Those kids STILL talk about the day we had "lions in a cage at church" - especially the pastor's son who was a lion! AND they still know that Daniel trusted and obeyed God, no matter what. (An upside-down round table was the cage that day. It has also served as Jesus' tomb, Noah's ark, and other amazing things.)

    One last thing -- we NEVER "required" the children to attend CC. In fact, the opposite idea ("you and your parents must decide where you should worship") has always been in place. Some children benefit better from "big church", and others from CC. God blesses them all.

    Bill :godisgood:
     
  13. Emily25069

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    Oy

    I am so back and forth on this topic.

    It doesnt help that hubby and I dont see eye to eye on it.

    I like to have the kids with me for big church, though we do let them go to sunday school.

    It seems like they should be with us.

    But they love CC so much, that a lot of the time, we let them go.

    The back and forth cant be much good for them either.
     
  14. Salty

    Salty
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    2 QUESTIONS:

    How old are the kids
    Is Sunday School at the same time as worship service?
     
  15. annsni

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    I'm always one who wants my kids with me - I have issues according to my hubby (he says it partially in jest - LOL) but I've found that it's been good for them to be with the other kids, to learn on their own level and to be able to be kids for a bit. From 1st grade on up, they stay with us through the worship and leave just before the sermon, so it's not terribly long that they're away from us (about 45 minutes) and they really enjoy it and learn a lot. Honestly, it would be tough for my just turned 5 year old to get much out of a 45 minute message on Romans 9, you know?? :)
     
  16. Salty

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    There are some who would disaagree with you. I attended one church where the nursery went up to 4. Everbody else had to be in the church service. (In SS there were three classes - nursery up to age four, children age 5 - 9, Adults age 10 and up

    Salty

    PS,
    I only visited this church once!!:saint:
     
    #16 Salty, Jan 25, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2008
  17. annsni

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    Trust me, I was 5 once MANY years ago - it would be tough for a 5 year old to get much out of a Romans 9 message. They may be able to catch the beginning idea but after that, it's all downhill. They CAN learn to sit quietly and even listen for a few key words to circle in a book but they are not going to get the concept of what the pastor is teaching unless they have an amazing attention span and grasp of the language - at 5.

    I do know, though, that there are many families and churches who prefer for the children to stay in with their parents through the whole service. That's fine and it's totally up to them if they want to do it - and if the church is conducive to it. Not all churches are and I honestly think that it's absolutely fine for the kids to be in the children's church or Sunday School (we have kind of what is a combo of both) as long as the programs are solid and not just a nursery.
     
  18. exscentric

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    three stories, take it for what its worth:

    1. Grew up personally going to Sunday school and childrens church and was 17 before I met the Lord so be sure the gospel gets in there somewhere.

    2. I was pastoring when our kids were little. They sat in church and were questioned later to see if they caught the message. Most Sundays the older could give me my main points and the youngest usually 2 out of 3. I think kids learn a lot more than we give them credit for. (Grade schoolers)

    3. Most of the children today do not learn in church because they bring a bag of toys to play with. One kid had a big bag bigger than most packs and dumped it all on the pew. Having said that when I was in church I used to put nickels on both sides of my ring and play with my flying saucer but I did learn anyway - well some :smilewinkgrin:

    Personally Sunday school is probably good but CC is not a hot idea for me.

    I would add that years ago I was in a church (small) that met in a big square, kids sitting in front of the parents with Bible story books for the younger and nothing for the older - they were all well behaved because they were taught to be. They had a Sunday school time later, but it was neat to see kids listening to the adults worship God.

    I've read that some of the eastern religions don't have to teach their children the chants etc. because they are on mom's back from birth and they hear it and learn it by hearing and seeing mom and dad.
     
  19. rbell

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    I forgot to mention....we have close to 40 children's church workers. We strongly feel that this helps us do it well. It's not the same, overworked folks having to do it every week.
     
  20. SaggyWoman

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    If I had my druthers, I think with the church(es) I have been in recently, they have had back to back services. I would have a small group time (call it what you want--SS, Small groups, Cell groups) for all the services, but change the curriculum so as not to be repetitive to the children who stay through both services. I might during this time have a children's worship time during one or all of the segments. But, primarily it would be small group time. That way the teachers at the earlier service can go to the later service and vice versa.
     

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