Thursday, July 2, 2009

Preparing Children to Stay in Church

If you have decided to keep your children in church here a few suggestions regarding how to go about it. These are things I have picked up from others and ideas I am trying with my own family.

First, make a commitment. Decide to do it and then do it. Explain to your child that you expect them to sit in church with you and then train them to do it.

Second, use your family worship time to train and prepare them to sit and listen. Over the next few weeks, I plan to have my daughter sit and listen to her Word and Song Bible as she follows along with the pictures.

Third, when you stay in church sit strategically. Early on, you may need to sit in the back so you can quietly leave, administer discipline and then return. By the way, make sure you return. Don't let your child learn that they can get out of the rest of the service by disobeying. Later, you might want to move to the front so they can see and participate better.

Fourth, set them up for success. Read the sermon passage before church and explain what is going on. Ask them to listen for specific words and keep track on a piece of paper. Ask them to draw the sermon. Find ways that are appropriate to your child's age to involve them in worship.

Fifth, teach them the songs your church sings frequently. Young children usually love to sing.

Sixth, praise every success. Your children need to hear what they are doing right, not just what they are doing wrong.

Seventh, be patient. This is a process and will take time. There probably will be difficult Sundays. It may be hard for you to worship at first. Persevere and think of the joy of raising a child that loves the Lord and loves the church.

In Christ
Pastor Mike

P.S. Here are some suggestions from John and Noel Piper, who have already walked this road. "The Family: Together in God's Presence"

The Word & Song Bible