Children & Church Service

MapleLeaf

Well-Known Member
I grew up in a fussier church that was more old-fashioned and it was still very common to hear and see the screaming child being dragged out the back to the basement where they would get their spanking. We had some basement journeys but mostly my parents waited until we got home. And, looking back, the infractions were so minor. I wonder what even my parents of back then would think if they could travel to the future and see how our current church tolerates kids being kids. My parents have visited my church and have no complaints so I guess they mellowed over time as well. I think it would be unfortunate if all the kids were unruly and no one could hear the pastor but sometimes kids just act out. Whenever a youngster starts to scream I do my best not to turn and look. I keep my eyes forward. I've noticed most everybody does this too. Sometimes people turn to look when you hear the definite THUD of a kid smacking themself on the pew which tends to happen when they are flopping around. Those hurt! And sure enough, seconds later the kid is screaming the roof down. Our church also has lots of special needs' kids (including mine) so there are going to be some behaviours as well that seem age inappropriate. I do try to get my kids to sit still and be quiet and we've often had the mid-service separation where one goes on one side and the other one on the other side. We bring paper and pencils for the kids to draw though we have the strict rule of no drawing or reading during singing or prayers. That is our personal rule as parents. The church doesn't mandate that stuff.

Our church had a "children's service" for the preschoolers before the lockdowns. Even though our Sunday School programs, kids clubs and VBS have all gone back to normal that one hasn't returned. We don't have an official nursery program but there is a room at the back where nursing moms can go. My kids went in there A LOT when they were toddlers. They were THOSE kids and I just didn't want to subject the congregation to all that energy. Maybe it's back to my roots of the fussier/traditional church. Speaking of, my old church must have gotten sick of the screaming basement visits so they did eventually do a Children's Church but by the time they invented it I was exactly 1 year too old to go so my siblings got to leave for the last half of the service and I had to sit there quiet and still. My parents also relented and let us draw during the service. I listened better too. I have distinct memories of messages that I heard while drawing rabbits in their burrows (a favourite subject of mine).

The only time we got a nasty look in our current church was from a visitor who also was an older lady. She gave my son such a horrible look and then glared at me with a tsk tsk. I felt awful and just wanted to cry. My son was a toddler and not yet diagnosed but his noises were happy and I was already stressing about how loud he was all the time and non-responsive to our commands and worrying about why he wasn't like the other kids his age and we had just gone through yet another miscarriage so I was overly sensitive too.
 

JoyJoyJoy

I Shall Not Be Moved
If there is a good children's Church or nursery and the parents want their kids to go, fine. My grandkids usually go.

But kids absolutely belong in the sanctuary during service, in my opinion.
It's an excellent opportunity to teach reverence and patience and self control. I also take my grandkids to *big church* because they need to know how to behave.

I would think the pastor and congregation would give praise for the babies, kids and young adults just being present.

It's kind of a sore spot for me. I was raised in church. There was a severely retarded boy whose mama always came and brought him. He made noises and rocked back and forth, but every one was use to him. I hope his precious mama is rewarded for her faithfulness in bringing him to the House of the Lord.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
I guess I was spoiled at my home church in MA because my Pastor and the members loved kids and babies. Many times the Pastor would make it a point to say that he loves baby sounds when my son or other kids would make noise.

At this new church I'm visiting in FL, all of the members were scowling, giving dirty looks at a new mom visiting with her toddler. This was during the singing and announcements part of the service. I was disturbed and furious to see how they were acting. It seems they expect all little kids to be in the nursery from start to finish of the entire service. I was leaving to the nursery after the music as the sermon started. I imagined that's when noise is fine.

I'm still upset and even apologized to that poor mom (whose not saved by the way). I told her how different my church back home was. This place is all senior citizens and kept saying how happy they were with kids.

Sure could have fooled me. Am I missing something? Is it normal to expect for kids to just not be in the entirety of the service?
I have been in smaller churches where after the praise music, the elder or Pastor would dismiss the kids present to go attend childrens bible studies. In my last 2 churches, they each had about 400-500 members for each service, and small children were usually not brought inside, but instead went straight to their classes.

I would not frown upon someone bringing their child for the praise portion, but it would be severely distracting for me if a child was making noises during the sermon. At my previous church, for several weeks there was a loud, deep voiced man who would yell a loud “amen” at least once every minute while the pastor was preaching. VERY distracting, and probably half the church complained and the man finally was privately told to stop. I could not follow the sermon at all when there was those loud distractions. Concerning the man who felt the need to yell amen so often, I have to wonder if he was trying to stand out on purpose, almost like a Pharisees tooting his own horn.

I know there are many like me that would be distracted by noises coming from the members in the sermon, but I would certainly never frown upon someone who brought their child in.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
If there is a good children's Church or nursery and the parents want their kids to go, fine. My grandkids usually go.

But kids absolutely belong in the sanctuary during service, in my opinion.
It's an excellent opportunity to teach reverence and patience and self control. I also take my grandkids to *big church* because they need to know how to behave.

I would think the pastor and congregation would give praise for the babies, kids and young adults just being present.

It's kind of a sore spot for me. I was raised in church. There was a severely retarded boy whose mama always came and brought him. He made noises and rocked back and forth, but every one was use to him. I hope his precious mama is rewarded for her faithfulness in bringing him to the House of the Lord.
I agree, but if at some point the child causes a disturbance, then at least for that moment, the parent and child should step out for a few moments, which is what happens in most of the services I have attended.
 

Amethyst

Angie ... †
I agree, but if at some point the child causes a disturbance, then at least for that moment, the parent and child should step out for a few moments, which is what happens in most of the services I have attended.
Most of the time it’s parents who don’t want to have their kids in theee bc they want to pay attention to the sermon rather than keeping having to make them “mind”. So it’s usually easier for the parent to have them on childcare. During the sermon of course but not necessarily during music where they can be loud and sing
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
I just saw this, came back on briefly, it's bedtime in 5 minutes.

Cheeky your primary duty before the Lord is the godly raising up of your children and leading your husband to the Lord.

All else is secondary. You aren't responsible to fix this church. God is in charge of that.

If God leads you to explain why they might have a problem attracting and retaining families, especially ones like this young unsaved mum, then that is a wonderful benefit of you going there however briefly.

Your primary duty requires you to find a church that your son and you and eventually your husband can grow and serve and be a part in. If this one is it, God will continue to show you-- even as He directs you to give constructive criticism.

How they receive it (providing you are gracious and kind) is up to God, as is their growth and change.

You may have been there to connect with that young mother seeking God. Sent for a moment, and a person.

Don't take on more responsibility for their choices or the way they do church. That's between them and God. You can help by giving a gracious word in season (after you've cooled off a bit). If they listen and change, you can stay. Or not.

Either way God is in charge of them and you. They have to answer to Him, for their responsibilities, you answer to God for yours.

The way I see it, you might need to be looking elsewhere for a church with more flexibility dealing with younger families.

It's ok if they aren't a perfect fit, they are probably fitting the ones they are called to serve.

Or perhaps they need to change and God sent you to gently and humbly point that out.

I remember trying to find a church in each community we moved to with the little ones. Not easy. God will guide you. The first one you try may not be right, nor the first five. Keep looking.

And keep up with that young mum. Sometimes you are sent to the mission field, sometimes the mission field comes to you. I think your mission field might be her and your own family for now.
This was an incredibly insightful response! I can't wait to share it with Mike. I also believe God put me and that mother together and I want to maximize my witness to her. She's really sweet and reminds me of how I was before I was saved, except she's much more softer around the edges. Lol
 

MapleLeaf

Well-Known Member
I agree, but if at some point the child causes a disturbance, then at least for that moment, the parent and child should step out for a few moments, which is what happens in most of the services I have attended.
Parents in our church definitely drag out the unruly child but when people are used to it they don't stare or give the parents mean looks. We all understand kids act out. But if a small child is quiet as they are crawling around on the floor by their parents or on the bench no one cares about that either. We're the adults. We can learn to focus even with distractions around us.
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
Most of the time it’s parents who don’t want to have their kids in theee bc they want to pay attention to the sermon rather than keeping having to make them “mind”. So it’s usually easier for the parent to have them on childcare. During the sermon of course but not necessarily during music where they can be loud and sing
The problem is myself and other parents are not ok with leaving their children with others to watch. I agree that the music time should be a time to have children present, but the members at this recent church were annoyed when the toddler was making noises during the moments in between the songs when announcements were made. It wasn't even the sermon.
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
Speaking for me, that’s debatable :mousedance .

For me and others with similar cognitive issues, no amount of focus on my part can overcome a distraction that is loud.
I agree the sermon is the most important time where one needs to be able to hear. Sadly the members of this church seemed to have a problem whent the toddler made noises during the music and announcements section of the service. We left right as the sermon was about to start.
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
I just saw this, came back on briefly, it's bedtime in 5 minutes.

Cheeky your primary duty before the Lord is the godly raising up of your children and leading your husband to the Lord.

All else is secondary. You aren't responsible to fix this church. God is in charge of that.

If God leads you to explain why they might have a problem attracting and retaining families, especially ones like this young unsaved mum, then that is a wonderful benefit of you going there however briefly.

Your primary duty requires you to find a church that your son and you and eventually your husband can grow and serve and be a part in. If this one is it, God will continue to show you-- even as He directs you to give constructive criticism.

How they receive it (providing you are gracious and kind) is up to God, as is their growth and change.

You may have been there to connect with that young mother seeking God. Sent for a moment, and a person.

Don't take on more responsibility for their choices or the way they do church. That's between them and God. You can help by giving a gracious word in season (after you've cooled off a bit). If they listen and change, you can stay. Or not.

Either way God is in charge of them and you. They have to answer to Him, for their responsibilities, you answer to God for yours.

The way I see it, you might need to be looking elsewhere for a church with more flexibility dealing with younger families.

It's ok if they aren't a perfect fit, they are probably fitting the ones they are called to serve.

Or perhaps they need to change and God sent you to gently and humbly point that out.

I remember trying to find a church in each community we moved to with the little ones. Not easy. God will guide you. The first one you try may not be right, nor the first five. Keep looking.

And keep up with that young mum. Sometimes you are sent to the mission field, sometimes the mission field comes to you. I think your mission field might be her and your own family for now.
I had to go reread this again because it was just so perfect. I have to remember not to try to take it upon myself to fix them. I was definitely feeling pressure from their excitement that we would be the answer to getting them more families to their church. It rubbed me the wrong way when it seemed they had this pressure for my son to be what attracted other kids. I don't want him to feel loved only because of his benefit to them, but because he's a child that God loves and a potential future brother in Christ.

I told my husband my concern with comments that had been made here and there. One older man said he hopes we return because "We need him" speaking about my son. I'm sure he meant well, but it stuck out at me.
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
In my former church, if there was a family that kept their small child in the sanctuary during the sermon, and the child continually made noise, the pastor would stop, pause and say, uh ma'am would you mind taking your baby out to the foyer?. I'm sure they were pretty embarrassed.
I wouldn't blame her for not returning.

It's funny because that happened in my last church in MA, where my son and over time other people's kids made noise. All of those times, my Pastor noticed how the parents, myself included, were trying to quiet the kids. He stopped the sermon all of those times to say, "Please don't leave, I love the sound of children," then he turned and asked the members and they all cheered saying they love the children. It was really shocking and now I desperately miss my church home.
 

athenasius

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't blame her for not returning.

It's funny because that happened in my last church in MA, where my son and over time other people's kids made noise. All of those times, my Pastor noticed how the parents, myself included, were trying to quiet the kids. He stopped the sermon all of those times to say, "Please don't leave, I love the sound of children," then he turned and asked the members and they all cheered saying they love the children. It was really shocking and now I desperately miss my church home.
Aww Cheeky it's understandable that you are homesick for your church family. They became family. You miss them. There's no place like home as Dorothy said in WofOz.

Your new church family will be different (whether they're this group or another) and they will become home.

But in the meanwhile it's especially hard because you are in between church homes. One you loved and said goodbye to, the other is in the future. Your grieving a loss too. Give yourself time and grace for that period of grief. And time to process the fact that churches like the people that make them up are different, they each have irreplaceable characteristics that make them lovable and unique. Quirks and failings too. Just like the humans they are made up of.

HUGS
 

cheeky200386

Well-Known Member
Aww Cheeky it's understandable that you are homesick for your church family. They became family. You miss them. There's no place like home as Dorothy said in WofOz.

Your new church family will be different (whether they're this group or another) and they will become home.

But in the meanwhile it's especially hard because you are in between church homes. One you loved and said goodbye to, the other is in the future. Your grieving a loss too. Give yourself time and grace for that period of grief. And time to process the fact that churches like the people that make them up are different, they each have irreplaceable characteristics that make them lovable and unique. Quirks and failings too. Just like the humans they are made up of.

HUGS
That's so true. The church is made up of people, warts and all. Thank you so much for the kind words and the encouragement.

I thought I was going to feel better now that it's been month but it seems like the grief is just starting to hit me. Now that the excitement of moving in has faded, it's really sinking in how much I miss them.

Mike shared he felt the same. He grew to really love me Pastor, his family, and the church family back home too. We were talking about what we love so much about them last night.

I reached out to the Pastor's wife of this new church. We're planning to meet this Thursday. I'm going to pray to get my heart right so that she can hear my concern with as much love as possible. Mike thinks talking to her is a good idea.
 
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