Home church/children's ministry Worshiping Children Become Worshiping Adults

Worshiping Children Become Worshiping Adults

by Kelly Crawford

I wanted to post this excerpt for added clarification to our debate: (link to full article included)

(Perhaps a later post simply on the importance of worship in general??? After all, we won’t know how to get there if we don’t know where we’re going!)

Why have children in worship? I could list 100 reasons. However, one reason in particular stands out: because children who do not worship don’t grow up to be worshiping adults.

“A startling study done in the United Church of Australia documented the long-term impact of dividing the church into age-specific groups. The researchers discovered that people who grew up in church attending worship and not Sunday school were much more likely to be involved in church as adults than were those young people who had attended only Sunday school without attending worship.” (Mark DeVries, Family-Based Youth Ministry, 1994, p.64)

That is a scary thought when we realize that most WPC children grow up attending Sunday school without attending worship.

For generations, Westminster scheduled Sunday school for children and worship for adults at the same time. The unwritten norm was that children are distracting and not mature enough to “sit through” worship. Many children, who went to Sunday school and then to confirmation class, “graduated” right out of the church. For these young people, worship is a foreign experience. Religious educators like John Westerhoff, have pointed out that this phenomenon is of our own making. “If our children are to have faith, Westerhoff argues, they must worship. And children learn to worship by worshipping.” (Cheryl Perry, “Coming to Church with Children,” October, 2000)

( http://www.wpc.org/Children_Youth/childrenInWorship.htm)

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Sarah August 22, 2007 - 4:08 pm

This is such a good point. How many children have stopped coming to our church when they became teens because “adult church” is not as fun as “children’s church”? I wonder. On the other hand, it is very stressful for me to have my small children in the service and be on them constantly to be still and quiet. I find it a lot harder to concentrate myself in these services.

Word Warrior August 22, 2007 - 4:31 pm


You may refer to a comment I left on the last post about children in service…although it does take effort and training for sure, even small children can be successfully taught to sit still and quiet for a long period of time with a little work.

We work at home, during family worship, and start with smaller intervals of time, requiring that they sit still and pay attention.

Then at church, I often sit with a very little one toward the back for awhile, and slowly adjust her to the service.

I find the biggest mistake parents make with little ones is they take them out as soon as they cry or fuss, to the nursery, where they are then freed to play. While this is a temporary solution to the problem, it really just reinforces their behavior. It doesn’t take them long to figure out how to get out of service to play! Better to take them out, discipline, and bring them back.

I hope that encourages you…maybe I’ll post on this topic later!


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