I pastored two churches that had a “children’s church” (a separate worship time for elementary kids while teens and adults worshiped in the church auditorium). Our folks prepared hard to help the children learn and worship well. More recently, though, I’m seeing a trend away from this approach. Here are the concerns I’ve heard:
- The entire family should worship together. Families teach families to worship, and they do it when the entire family worships together. Children ought to be worshiping beside their parents.
- The church already divides families enough. We do so many age-specific events that pull families in different directions that we’re creating unnecessary and unhelpful stress.
- Church leaders need to learn to lead worship services that even children understand. If the little ones understand what we’re doing and teaching, adults will, too. That’s just a good ministry principle.
- Children’s Church too often becomes nothing but babysitting. There’s little accountability for the leaders, and nobody’s evaluating whether or not the children are growing toward Christ.
- Children best learn reverence in “big church.” It’s difficult to teach reverence in a children’s church setting where everything is geared more toward active, participative learning.
- Even children can learn worship songs they will long remember. Those songs will mark their faith, and they’ll likely hang on to memories of singing them with their families.
- Children need to see their pastor in the pulpit. Children often develop respect and love for their “preacher” when they see him regularly leading the congregation in worship.
- Children’s church pulls adults, too, out of the worship service. Faithful children’s church workers often do it as many Sundays as they can – and they then never worship with other adults.
So, what do you think? Where do you stand on the issue of “children’s church”?