Friday, April 3, 2015

A to Z Blogging Challenge "C is for..."

...Church...Taking Your Kids
By Shelly Burke, RN, Author, and Publisher Nebraska Family Times

Our primary job as parents is to help them to know God. Jesus clearly wants children to hear His word; in Matthew 19:14  He tells His disciples, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." His love for children is further evident when He says, "Truly I say unto you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

One of the primary ways to introduce children to faith is by taking them to church. Make a commitment to take your children to church every week, beginning when they are babies. When they grow up seeing you make worship and going to church a priority, the routine and importance of regular worship will be ingrained in their lives. Taking kids to church is not easy; when they're young the struggle may be getting them to sit still and behave appropriately. As kids get older, church competes with other activities and sometimes a negative attitude towards attending church. 

Try these "real life" tips when you attend church with your children. 

When they are babies and toddlers: 
  • come prepared with quiet toys and snacks, to be used when your child is no longer interested in sitting quietly. 
  • fold their hands into yours and cue him to close his eyes during
    From Google Images
    prayer; when praying out loud do so so your child can hear your words.
  • take your child out if he is crying or babbling loud enough to disturb others. When your child is old enough to understand "it's time to be quiet", attach a consequence to having to leave church because of misbehavior. (When my kids were little, we routinely drove through the Mc Donald's drive through for a happy meal after church. If we had to take them out during the service we drove BY McDonald's, very slowly so they could see what they were missing.)
As your kids get older: 
  • Explain what is happening during the service. "Listen to the choir praising God." "Now the reader is reading from the Bible. What is he saying about God?" "Now the pastor is telling us how God wants us to live."
  • Make "church rules" clear. These might include, "Only whisper during church." "Let mommy listen to the pastor while you read your book." "Stand when everyone else stands."
  • Some parents sit in the back of the church where the noise of kids doesn't seem so disruptive; others find their kids pay attention better when they sit in the front, where the kids can see the activity of lighting candles, people talking and moving around and so on. 
  • As children get older, expect them to need fewer distractions (like books, toys and snacks) and to pay attention and participate and follow along with Bible readings. 
  • Talk about church during the week. Refer to the pastor's sermon, re-read the Bible readings, or play a CD of some of the songs that were sung. 
Tips for teens: 
  • Unfortunately, school,  sports and other activities take place on Sundays in many towns, and staying up late the night before may lead to struggles in getting a child to church on Sunday morning. While every family has to make its own decisions regarding priorities, please remember that a relationship with God is the most important relation anyone will have. Many churches offer Saturday, Sunday or Monday evening services, which might fit better in a busy schedule. 
  • My parents had a rule that no matter how late we were out the night before, we went to church the next morning. After prom one year I slept for about an hour between the post-prom breakfast and church. I was more than ready for a nap that afternoon...and the lesson my parents instilled about the importance of church has stayed with me even more than 30 years later. 
  • While attending worship is a priority, kids should also be developing a day-to-day relationship with the Lord, spending time in devotions (preferably family devotions), prayer and Bible study every day. 
From Google Images
While taking kids to church will probably seem like more trouble that it's worth some weeks (or months!). Rest assured, even when you question what your kids get out of church (or even what YOU get out of church!) your actions are having an impact. 

What's your best hint for taking kids to church? 

Special message for those whose kids are grown: Make it a point to compliment parents who bring their kids to church. To these parents, every eye is on them and judging when their kids' actions are anything less than perfect. Reassure them that you're happy to see their kids in church and that they are making a difference. They will appreciate your words! 

Special message to those who are bothered by the noise and activity of kids in church: In most churches there is an area in which parents with young kids sit, and an area in which kids usually don't sit. Choose to sit where there aren't kids. Please refrain from making any critical comments to parents whose kids are active or even loud; these parents are doing one of their most important jobs in bringing their kids to church. If you are disturbed by noise or activity, talk with an elder or the pastor, not the parents. This is not meant to sound harsh, but it is very important. I know several parents who were very hurt by comments from others, about their kids. Remember what Jesus said: "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."
This post is an excerpt from the book 
“Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family and Her Home” by Shelly Burke. 
This post is part of “Lifehacks for Christian Moms”, available for download May 1st
I'm also blogging at Nebraska Family Times
where the theme is "Words Matter." Click to 
read more! 


  1. Great topic! It is so important, they need to get lifted and fill up!

  2. As a Christian (international) educator who has written bible curriculum for children (and teens) I don't completely agree. I will agree that many people think of Sunday School as babysitting. As a child, I learned more about worship and the Bible in classes that were geared for my age group. If learning to sit quietly is the goal, then going to a museum or a library is a good way to teach that. If learning to worship and love God is what you want a child to learn then give them an enriched and fun environment where the Bible is alive.

    1. Thank you for your comments! Many churches have "children's church" while the adults are in church too, so the kids can go to a class geared to their age group. This post is for churches that don't offer that option. The Bible is a very exciting book for all ages! b

  3. Sometimes making it through church with our three young boys can be a challenge, but I agree, it's so vitally important. And I think emphasizing that importance helps pass that on to them as well. I love that your parents insisted you still go to church no matter how late you stayed up the night before. Church really is so important!

    1. Thanks Courtney! I remember barely being able to keep my eyes open after being up almost all night...but it was a good lesson. Great job on taking your three boys to church!


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