Children

 

  • During the covid-19 restrictions, the church nursery is closed and there will be no children's church.  Children must remain with their parents at all times.
  • Masks are required for all parents and children over the age of 3 years.  
  • The nursing mothers room is open for nursing moms & infants.
  • The cry area is available for crying babies/toddlers and a parent (in the church office hallway).
  • Tips for getting the most out of gathered worship with your children are below.
from Parenting in the Pew: 6 Steps To Help Kids Behave in Church  (Concordia Publishing House , May 26, 2015 )

Thomas Edison reportedly tried to invent the light bulb 10,000 times before he found success. In reference to his long-awaited achievement, a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 10,000 times?”

“I didn’t fail 10,000 times,” Edison answered. “The light bulb was an invention with 10,000 steps.”

Parents of young children likely feel that getting their kids to behave in church is a lot like inventing the light bulb. A small container of cereal transforms into a pile of crushed crumbs underneath the pew. Crayons and a coloring book give way to a freshly illustrated hymnal. The new board book magically becomes a Frisbee. After innumerable trips in and out of church with an unruly little Christian in your arms, you cannot help but wonder, “Is all this effort worth it?”

Just as the light bulb was worth every step, so are your efforts. You are not failing, but instead trudging up and down the hilly path to success. While my three oldest usually display appropriate church etiquette, there remain those Sundays when I feel I must go back to the drawing board. Even so, I humbly offer the following steps that have served our family well, in the hope that they may guide you as you travel toward the goal of raising an engaged and respectful little church goer.

Step 1

Serve a filling breakfast or bring a small snack. Hungry children have shorter attention spans, especially later in the morning.

Step 2

Dress your child in something special. Teach that church is something unique and important, requiring specific clothes such as “church shoes.” Explain that just as you wear your best to Jesus’ house, you likewise act your best in Jesus’ house.

Step 3

Sit in one of the front pews. Children are short and need all the help they can get seeing the action. Holding them in your arms gives them an even better view. While they are watching the pastors or other participants, whisper words of simple explanation; “Those are words Jesus said,” or “Jesus likes to hear us sing.”

Step 4

Bring along a few books reserved only for church. CPH has a series of board books that point out different objects and actions children can expect to experience in church. This series includes Things I See at Easter and Things I see at Christmas. Your church library might also have Things I Hear in Church and Things I See in ChurchMy Church Words Book is another good one that allows kids to match the pictures in the book to what they are seeing. You can also read Whisper, Whisper before coming to church to help prepare children for what will take place during the service.

Step 5

Enlist fellow church members to sit with your family. This is especially helpful when you have several small children in tow. Many older members of your congregation would be thrilled to hold your little ones and help them pay attention. Take advantage of their experience of raising their own children as well as their desire to pass on the faith to a new generation.

Step 6

Practice at home. Just as kids often play house or school, join them in playing church. Take turns acting out the roles of pastor, choir director, reader, banner bearer, person in the pew, and so on. Show them how you would like them to act at different parts of the service, and hopefully they will remember on Sunday.

By bringing your children to church each week, you are familiarizing them with the sights, sounds, smells, and rhythm of worship. You are acknowledging they are valuable members of Christ’s family now, instead of only when they are older. You are teaching them that every week begins in God’s house: thanking, praising, confessing, and praying to Him who made us and saved us.

Edison’s hard work paid off, and so will yours. May your efforts, inspired by the Holy Spirit, illuminate your child’s many steps with the gracious light of Christ.

Written by    Concordia Publishing House

 

 

Parenting in the Pew – Tips for Stressed Out Parents and Fed Up Congregants

 APRIL 30, 2013 BY TARA EDELSCHICK

I get asked lots of questions by parents visiting our church for the first time, but by far the most common is this: Why don’t you hold Sunday school during the service?  It’s so hard to have my five-year-old with me during church!  We do have a Sunday school, but it meets after our corporate worship service, and children five and older are expected to stay with their parents during this service.  (Younger children and babies can attend the nursery.)  I get a similar question from single adults, senior citizens, and college students: Why don’t you hold Sunday school during the service?  I can’t enjoy the service with all of these whiny, squiggly, rowdy children in the sanctuary!  

A Jewish friend recently told me that her synagogue holds two seders each Passover – one upstairs for the adults and one downstairs for the children, who were so badly behaved that the adults banished them to the basement.  Given the Bible’s mandate that adults pass on the story to each new generation, this is surely a failure.  As is the current Patheos debate about babies crying during church.  But whose failure is it?  The parents who think the world revolves around their precious bundles?  Or the other adults who feel entitled to peace and quiet and orderliness at all times?

Church, unlike my quiet times of Bible study and prayer, is a communal experience.  We come together to make a joyful noise for our God.  We come together to encourage each other in faith.  We come together to welcome newcomers into a relationship with God and his people.  And that welcome extends to children.  Our job as a congregation is to welcome children into the life of the church.  This job may fall primarily on parents, but it won’t work if the entire community doesn’t pitch in.  Here are some suggestions for all of us. Nearly all of them are taken directly from a book that I cannot recommend highly enough, Parenting in the Pew.

FOR PARENTS:  Church is not a time-out from parenting.  It’s not like date night, where you and God are gonna have some special time. You have the responsibility, and incredible blessing, to lead your child in the life of your church.  This means recognizing that the church is not there only for your child’s enjoyment.  They are part of a community, and teaching your children to respect that community is important work. In a culture that entertains children into a spiritual coma, this is not going to be easy.  But it will be worth it.

  • Sunday morning starts Saturday night.  Lay out clothes, offering envelopes, and gather together all you will need.
  • Make Sunday morning different! Set the alarm early enough to allow for a relaxed pace.  Have a simple, special Sunday breakfast.
  • Allow time to get settled.  Take children to the bathroom before the service begins.
  • It’s often helpful to sit as a family toward the front of the sanctuary.  Children who can see will feel more a part of the service. If, on the other hand, you think you’ll need to take a break during the service, sit near the back and on the aisle so you are less likely to disrupt things as you leave and return.
  • If you need some time to quiet a crying baby or help a squiggly youngster re-focus, feel free to step out of the sanctuary for a bit.
  • Worship WITH rather than BESIDE children.   Help those who can’t yet read by singing the words of the chorus into their ears so they can sing along. Have them squeeze your hand whenever they hear a repeated word like God or Hallelujah.
  • Help young readers follow along with Powerpoint and Bibles.  Point out words for young readers and even non-readers who can pick out repetitive words.
  • Allow children to participate in the offering by sharing their allowance and bringing it forward with your family’s offering.
  • Whisper instructions, questions and comments. “Now is the time when we tell God how great He is.” “What do you think will happen next in the story?”
  • When young children need a break, step out of the sanctuary.  Rejoin when they are ready to participate again.
  • Be firm and consistent.  Apply the same discipline for worship infractions that you apply at other times.
  • On the way home, ask what people did, enjoyed, and wondered about during the service.

FOR THE REST OF US: Church is not an adults-only resort.  Yes, many parents need to do a better job parenting at church, but your hostile eye-rolling is not helping.  Neither is your attitude that it’s not your problem to solve.  How much support do the single mothers get from you?  The mothers of colicky babies or special needs kindergarteners?  Has your church gone out of its way to make non-Christian college students feel welcome but very little to make eight-year-old boys feel the same?  If you can’t sing while a baby cries or an autistic girl bumps into you while she tries to get comfortable, might you not be the one who needs to adjust a few things?

  • Remember the commitment you made as a church when children were dedicated, a commitment to encourage them to become disciples of Christ.
  • Introduce yourself to the child sitting beside you.  Make him or her feel welcome and important.
  • On occasion, ask a parent if you could invite one of their children to sit with you during the service.
  • Understand when parents need to take young children and babies to the nursery or the rest room and then return to worship.
  • Have patience with the learning process, and pray for families that you see are struggling.
  • Compliment children who listened attentively during the service.