Likewise, age-specific and age-appropriate classes are so important for developmental growth and for cognitive understanding. But that is just one part of our learning and growing process as disciples.
Being a disciple of Jesus means being a part of a community, a family, and it is just as essential for children and youth to have opportunities to interact and worship with their family, both physical and spiritual, as it is for them to have peer relationships and age-specific lessons. It’s a both/and, not an either/or.
The reality is, welcome is much more than just saying, “Sit here and be quiet.” We would never “welcome” a guest to our home that way. When we want to welcome someone, we find out their needs, we create a space that allows for those needs to be met, and we engage with them in meaningful ways.
We can’t just sit children in a worship service and say, “Well, we tried it and it just doesn’t work.” It takes intentional time, creativity and work to ensure that the experience is one that is beneficial for all and not just for some.
But the benefits of worshiping together and being with one another are so worth this hard work. Honestly, it’s good for everyone, old and young. We need each other. We were made for community. (For more on this, check out all the amazing reasons for intergenerational worship here.)
If your church is looking for ways to begin to welcome children and youth into corporate worship settings, it is a cultural journey, not a program change or a scheduling adjustment. It does take time and education and a lot of grace. But there will be fruit, fruit that we may not see for years as our children are growing, but fruit that will be demonstrated as disciples are made.
I’d love to walk with you if you are beginning this journey! Feel free to contact me here and share what God is stirring in your heart. And be blessed; God meets us in His people, from the oldest to the youngest, so He is in this and He is excited about His church.
This article originally appeared here.