Our parenting conference speaker made his case for for families worshiping together a few weeks ago and I've been meaning to add my two cents. Our boys attended adult worship services most of their lives, and it didn't make them hate going to church. I'm not sure it helped them either. I think a lot depends on your kids and on your parenting style or skills.
So I think it's a great idea for many (but not all) families, but only if...
- Your kids are also attending their weekend small group (i.e., Sunday School) so that they can learn, grow and fellowship at their own level. You can go to the service together and then you (the parents) can serve the other hour while your kids are in their small group.
- Your kids are not constantly distracting you. If you are the primary spiritual director in your child's life (and you are), it's not a good idea for you to put your spiritual growth on hold until your slightly to very hyperactive child grows up.
- Your kids are not distracting the people around you. Sorry, but constant movement and even cute noise is distracting.
I just read an article by a pastor from a church that doesn't ever allow kids in their services. He gives five reasons that I think can be remedied in other ways. But here are his reasons for your consideration:
- Children learn at their level - Appropriate topics are given at appropriate ages and presented in appropriate methods for their particular stage of development.
- Children like church - How many people do you meet that say they hate church because their parents forced them and it was boring? Why do that to your kids? Don't you want them to learn about Jesus AND enjoy it?
- It allows parents to worship/learn undistracted - Our conviction is that the parent is more responsible for the spiritual development of a child than the church, so we need to make sure parents are being edified and encouraged in God's Word. This is much easier when they're not trying to keep their children pacified or entertained during service.
- It allows people throughout the service, both seekers and disciples alike, to focus on the experience rather than being distracted by crying, fussing, or bored kids.
- It frees the pastor to discuss "adult" topics without having to filter things for young ears. I don't mean this allows me to cuss, but it does allow me to discuss serious things like sex without having kids hear things they are not ready for yet. [We try to warn parents when the topic is PG or PG-13, but it's not easy to always remember.]