We recently asked several Replanters how their church approaches having children in the worship services.
Henry Criss-Faith Ridgeland Church, Ridgeland South Carolina
Building bridges across generational lines is a high priority for us at Faith Ridgeland. It is vital that we take deliberate steps to integrate all ages into our corporate worship experience, including children. One way we accomplish this is by simply allowing the children to remain in the worship center and participate in our congregational singing and prayers. We offer “children’s church” but not until right before the preaching begins. To us, this is offers a good balance between including the children in worship and affording the opportunity for parents to focus on the message. Additionally, we include children on the platform every opportunity we get. We have a young lady that helps lead congregational singing, and our children’s groups will participate in special performances as part of the worship service.
Josh King, Sachse’s Church, Sachse Texas
We keep first through third graders in for the music portion of the service. As I am standing to preach, I dismiss them. The idea is for them to worship with the family, see baptisms and to be a part of the greeting time. We often have students do the welcome to the church and guests, which is another way of connecting younger members and attenders. When there is a baptism of a child, we have the other members of their “small group” stand to show that bond. There is a Bible ceremony for students going into the first grade. Parents write a letter to the child, and the elders and staff do as well. The child is presented with their “big kid Bible,” and we pray for them to value the word of God throughout their lives.
Nathan Loudin, Millwood Baptist Church, Austin Texas
At Milwood, we might lean more toward a family-integrated model than some. I say that because of the age at which our child care stops for the service. We offer childcare for young children and babies (infant-five years old). We offer three classes: infants, walking and potty trained through five (which means 6 volunteers each week). Six year olds and up are encouraged to sit with their parents and the church body. We have intentionally made this the age at which we want to introduce children to the gathered church. The most common response to this by parents has been, “but my kids don’t get anything out of the service.” We do, however, offer children-specific ministry during our Building Blocks (Sunday School) before the service. Also, we believe there is much to gain by children being in the service even if they don’t retain the whole sermon.
Mark Hallock, Calvary Family of Churches, Denver Colorado
At our church, one of our core values is intergenerational discipleship. We truly desire to be a church where young and old are growing in the Lord together. One of the ways we seek to do this is through intergenerational worship. At our weekend worship services, we have everyone in the sanctuary through the first half of the service as we sin praises to God, pray together and give tithes and offerings. When we get to the sermon, we intentionally give parents the option to either keep their children with us in the sanctuary for the sermon, or children 3rd grade and under can go to their children’s ministry classes. Each week we clearly share how we value both. Being a church that reaches many unchurched people, we have found that children’s classes can help serve both the parents and the children of these families. For those families that choose to have their children in the service with them, we try to provide different tools to help their younger kids connect with the sermon. One of the ways we do this is through providing notebooks for kids of different ages to help them learn to take notes during the sermon.
Published September 21, 2017