We have just passed the season of Christmas Family Services; that joyous time of year where children are allowed to go to church.
“Whew… coming on a little strong, aren’t you, Christina?”
Perhaps…but lately I’ve seen a significant number of posts and comments that are encouraging that children be invited into the Sunday morning service for Christmas activities but making it clear that children are only welcome in that space on special occasions. In fact, often listed out in the comments or even in the post itself are a list of reasons why children shouldn’t be included in normal worship times but should be there on special occasions like Christmas.
So let’s unpack these a little bit. What are all the reasons why children, adolescents, and youth shouldn’t attend worship on regular Sunday morning worship times?
- Children should be able to worship in an age-appropriate space and Sunday mornings are geared toward ADULTS
- Children need to have fun at church so that they have good experiences and keep wanting to come even when they are older and go to the ADULT service.
- Children are a distraction from ADULTS in worship service.
- Children have certain developmental abilities and needs that can’t be met in a the ADULT service.
Actually, I almost agree with all of these things. It is hard for children to be included in a space that is specifically and intentionally designed only for adults.
I just don’t think Sunday morning should be that place.
Church is the place where the community of faith gathers together for the purpose of worship, service, Scripture, and support. The Church is the body of Christ and includes all people who follow Jesus and desire to be his disciple (no age or development restriction applied). The Church is a diverse body where each part makes up the whole and finds its identity in Jesus. The gathered community is a place where all should find space to participate and grow as members of that body.
Since when did our time of worship on Sunday morning of all times become a place that is only available to adults?
Who decided that the MAIN time of our gathering, the central moment for most worshipping communities to gather together, would be specifically and intentionally designed for only one age group?
Why did that sacred time of communal worship and congregational togetherness become a place that was “geared to adults”, the “adult service”, and where children are deemed a distraction?
To be clear, as I always state in my blogs, I am NOT opposed to age-sensitive spaces for both learning and worship BUT if we consistently gather as a community together as the church and insist that our central time of gathering is for adults-only and gear all of our energy towards one age group… how can we be surprised when they one we haven’t invited into that space, leaves?
“But what about kids church?”