Traditions aren’t just for children. But if you do have children, it’s worth getting a copy of Treasuring God in Our Traditions for the appendix alone!

In the last seven pages of the book John and Noel Piper come together to help parents think through the difficulties of bringing children into Sunday morning worship and some practical things to do with your children to help make it a more meaningful time. Sunday morning worship services are, after all, one of the “everyday” traditions we have as Christians.

So here are three sneak peaks at some of the helpful advice the Piper’s offer to include children in Sunday morning worship.

1. Realize that your love or coldness towards worship on Sunday will be communicated to your children.

The greatest stumbling block for children in worship is that their parents do not cherish the hour. Children can feel the difference between duty and delight. Therefore, the first and most important job of a parent is to fall in love with the worship of God. You can’t impart what you don’t possess.

Do you cherish the time? Could you cherish it more? Ask God to help you love Sunday morning worship.

2. Have a special notebook for the child to take “notes” during the sermon. 

“Taking notes” grows up as the child does. At first he draws pictures of what he hears in the sermon. Individual words or names trigger individual pictures. You might pick out a word that will be used frequently in the sermon; have the child listen carefully and make a check mark in his “notes” each time he hears the word.

Later he may want to copy letters or words from the Scripture passage for the morning. When spelling comes easier, he will write words and then phrases he hears in the sermon. Before you might expect it, he may be outlining the sermon and noting whole concepts.

I thought the idea of having the child check off the words he heard during the sermon was a really creative way to have him interact before he can write.

3. Read the passage the sermon will be on several times the week before the sermon.

A little one’s face really lights up when he hears familiar words from the pulpit.

Miriam is just two but I can completely imagine this in a few years. Right now she lights up every time she see the Iowa Hawkeye’s logo just because it’s all over Iowa City. She recognizes it. She feels part of it. What a great idea to tap into her delight of the familiar by preparing her for what she will hear about God on Sunday morning.

That’s just a taste. There are lots of great tips like that in the appendix! I’m praying about what Sunday morning worship services can be for Miriam and Annette.

Want to join me?

 

 

6 Responses to 3 Tips for Including Kids in Church

  1. Carlie V. says:

    Thank you for this, Melissa. I have been thinking a lot lately about how to encourage a spirit of joy in a service in my daughter (she’s only 6 months but time passes so quickly, doesn’t it?).

    I have noticed that bringing her to church now makes it difficult sometimes for me to appreciate a sermon because my attention is divided, and I think that a couple of your points (coming to church with joy, pre-reading the Scripture) may help ME appreciate going to church as a mom more.

  2. heather says:

    Our kids really enjoy going to church, and honestly I think it has very little to do with their daddy being the pastor. We have always presented it as an opportunity. We GET to go to chuch today!
    To Carlie V., When my middle daughter was between the ages of 1 and 3, I don’t think I heard one sermon. She was a challenge. It does get better. They do learn to participate and be more engaged, and where that fails, stickers and a snack saved for the time of the sermon is always helpful.

  3. Bonnie Way says:

    These are good tips, though sometimes it’s hard to apply it for younger kids. Our girls are 4 and 2 and I haven’t found any perfect solutions yet for church. Even a notebook and markers/crayons have caused problems – they drop them or colour on the pew or… 🙂 I do think parents’ attitude is important, though (even if it’s hard to keep a good attitude when your kids aren’t acting the way you’d hope they would!). Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      You’re right, Bonnie, I don’t think there’s a perfect solution. And there’s only so much you can expect from a 2 year old too! This post is really just a taste of what John and Noel Piper include. They also talk about what to do when it doesn’t go as planned 🙂

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