Where Should Children Worship?

Pro Family Worship

  • We have the service for everyone…Children are trained to sit still and quiet, the little ones are taught to lie on the floor and sleep, and the school-age ones sit and read a book, but stand for the prayers and hymns. Once they are about 11 or 12, they listen to the service.”
  • “Keep children with us in the sanctuary. Let them experience the Holy Spirit, listen to what’s really going on, and be able to ask questions that’ll cause us to have to spend quality family time in giving them the answers.”
  • “When the kids in my church worship, I feel the adults are motivated by this and are even inspired by the kids.”
  • “Kids need to be in the presence of adults who can model the passionate, sold-out worship that kids need to survive in this world!”
  • “We had children in our worship service initially, but the service was totally geared to adults. When challenged on this, I was told that they didn’t want to ‘dumb-down’ worship for the kids. My response has remained the same, “Either include them or exclude them, but don’t ignore them.”
  • “I love sitting in a service watching a child as he watches his father and raises his hands the same way or puts his hand over his heart like his mother.”

-poll response at childrensministry.com

Pro Children’s Church

What children’s ministers at cmmag.com say…

  • “In our children’s church, we teach the same Jesus, the same death on the cross, and the same resurrection.”
  • “Just because children have been placed in the adult service in the past doesn’t mean that it was the best way; it was just the only way.”
  • “Children also need a place where they can learn to worship God freely and not be intimidated by the grown-ups.”
  • “An adult worship service is for adults. Vocabulary is not on a child’s level; concepts can be abstract rather than concrete, which is difficult for children to understand; and the method of delivery doesn’t sufficiently reach the generation we’re teaching today.”
  • “It’s great if children can worship in church with adults, but too many times I have seen children messing around and parents not doing anything to teach their children to worship God.”
  • “After 20 years of children’s ministry and having had it both ways, I’ve seen a greater freedom in children when they worship alongside other children.”

Real Worship for Kids

by Debbie Rowley

When I came into Kidz Church several weeks ago, I was delighted to see Joshua in the front, leading the other children in the hand motions to “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.” Joshua is a first-grader who’s been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and finds it difficult to “sit still and listen” in a typical adult worship service. However, after the Kidz Church worship leader invited Joshua to teach the motions to this praise song, this active child was able to focus his attention on Christ and become an active participant in worship.

This is the advantage of children’s church, providing worship services that involve children and draw them into worship. God blessed children with extra energy and the desire to move; they have unique needs and characteristics that make them uncomfortable and even bored in an adult worship service. Children’s worship services can provide a useful outlet for that energy, actually harnessing it to enhance children’s worship experiences.

Remove physical barriers to children’s worship.

Most adult worship centers have pews or seats built for adults. Many children can’t easily see the pastor or other leaders at the front of the room, causing children to lose interest easily.

In our Kidz Church at Calvary Church, we have chairs of different sizes for different sizes of kids. Often we remove the chairs and have kids sit on the floor, removing barriers between leaders and kids and allowing safe movement during activities.

Remove musical obstacles to children’s worship.

Songs in an adult worship service are chosen to be meaningful to adults, but the songs often include terms and concepts children can’t grasp. Children’s worship leaders have the advantage of choosing songs children can understand. Of course, music can be more fun with songs in children’s church such as “Shake a Friend’s Hand” or “I Love Bananas.” Fun elements ensure that kids will want to return.

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Children's Ministry Magazine, a division of Group Publishing, is passionate about helping you make a difference in the lives of children. Group Publishing provides ministry resources and services for Christian churches worldwide.