This past Sunday in our corporate worship service, I saw and heard some of the following:
- Lots of babies and children curiously looking around the sanctuary—including a baby who kept starring at me and smiling.
- Children’s voices speaking during the pastoral prayer.
- A child who “got away” from his parents and started running in the aisles.
- Parents who were diligently—and sometimes desperately—trying to keep their children quiet and attentive.
- Parents who quickly got up and walked out with crying children.
Yes, all those things were distracting to a certain extent, but that pales in comparison to the benefits of having children and babies present with us. They are getting a special glimpse of “family life”—God’s family, the bride of Christ gathered together to worship our great Redeemer, the King of kings and Lord of lords! What a glorious thing to invite them into the midst of. What a wonderful reminder of our sacred responsibility to teach and guide them to become true worshipers of God. So, beyond any minor distractions that occurred this past Sunday, babies and children saw and heard…
- Hundreds of people giving praise to God with loud, heartfelt singing.
- Heads bowed and voices silent as a pastor called out to our heavenly Father in earnest prayer.
- God’s all-powerful, life-giving Word being read.
- Attentive people listening carefully as the gospel was being proclaimed.
- The love, patience, and mercy of Jesus extended to them through His people, even as the babies and children wiggled and squirmed.
If we were only to dwell on the distractions of babies and children in the worship service, we would miss the bigger picture of what God is able and pleased to do in those young minds and hearts week after week. His Spirit is at work in the midst of His people, even in the tiniest of people.
Would you like to learn more about the importance of welcoming children into the worship service? Are you looking for practical tips to equip parents? Here is a booklet written by David and Sally Michael that addresses both of those questions:
And here are resources specially designed for children to use during the worship service: