Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kids In Church...

I have struggled with this subject for a while. At our church we have Sunday school classes for the kids. I help to coordinate the children's program alongside a few other people.

I really enjoy doing this, so this has nothing to do with that.

With that said, the thing that I am struggling with is what is the purpose of children's church, or Sunday school, or whatever you may call it, in the lives of believers.

When you have kids coming from the neighbourhood, or friends, or any other "unchurched" kids, I think that it does serve a purpose, somewhat. These kids are not learning the foundations at home and we want them to learn the basics, right?

So, when it comes to my family, where we are believers, and we teach our kids at home through our actions, our words, walking the Bible out etc... is Sunday school the right choice?

When you look back through the Bible, when Jesus was around, and other times, the children and adults were all present. I don't know of 1 place where it says the kids went elsewhere while the adults were taught...maybe I am wrong, but I haven't found it.

I could put scripture after scripture where it talks about the kids always being around for teachings and that was just expected.

So, the idea of seperate teachings is something newer? The same goes with other "programs" in the church, they are fun, Sunday school is fun, but do we just send them so they are "out of our hair"? So we can get the teaching without worrying about crying, or discipline? If our kids learn that there is a certain amount of expectation from them throughout service, and there is follow-up after service, and everyone can go home discussing the same things and learning how to apply these teaching to all their lives, why do we need Sunday school?

I am in no way saying this thinking is correct or putting down Sunday school or other church programs. Our family takes part in these as well, it is just something that has been rolling around in my brain!!

I have thought about this a LOT, in the past and even now. It is something that has always been a pull inside my heart. I am curious as to what others think about this?

Just my thoughts today.


  1. wow that is quite the deep debate!

    I totally agree that kids were included when Jesus was there....and totally love it and I believe that even if their brains don't understand the message our spirit does...cuz their is no age with spirit........

    having said all this....

    I have to admit that I LOVE the break!!! I love being able to sit and receive a message and get my spirit fed without the distraction of my that selfish??? actually I don't think it is becuase the rest of the week I am with them and Sunday mornings is the only time in the week that I can get what my spirit craves uninterrupted. If our church didn't have a program.....then I wouldn't go there. I think it is great for seekers and young families to have a SS program. Youth is also great, to have them bond on their own level and to encourage each other at one of the most crucial ages of their lives. I think having a sense of belonging in the church home/environment helps to establish that foundation in them so that they have the same ownership that we do. I believe that helps to fulfill the scripture that says "raise them up in the way that they should go and when they are older they will not depart from it".

    Foundations are crucial. Now how that foundation comes about and what programs you use or don't use I believe are personal and have to be prayed about. The most important is just building the foundation which I know you do and is done in your church body as well.

    well whew there is my 2 cents for what it's worth.

  2. I love the fact that our church is specifically teaching our children that they can hear God speak to them, and that they can pray for people and God will heal them. I love that they are taught on their level that God is real and that they can have a real realationship with Him. I love the fact that our kids are in the service for the worship and that they are encouraged to participate and dance and to ask God for a Word to share. They are being trained to have a place and a part in our Church Body corporately. I don't mind that they go to be taught on their level. I think that if it was just a babysitting service that I might not be so impressed, but our pastor's wife has an amazing heart to see our children touched by God and to have them realize that He's their God, their friend, and their Father as well. I think it's an amazing addition to what we walk out in our family to have that re-inforced in our church. I don't really want my kids to sit through an adult service every week. They wouldn't grasp what was said right away, and in some ways might end up resenting being forced to do something boring. I know that in our family, my kids are so excited to go to Sunday School and to learn what God is going to do next. I do understand that this is not the case in every church, though, and you have to do what you feel God is leading you to do. You are pastoring your family, and need to do what God is calling you to do.

  3. Our church is doing things a little bit different in the fact that we have been going through the Old Testament, not just the Pulpit, but also our Sunday school classes, junior high groups and high school groups as well as our growth groups. We all study the same thing at the same time so that you can discuss the lesson at home with the whole family! We are finding that everyone has input on the discussion this way.

  4. I hear and understand what you are saying. You can liken it to the need of a permanent building to meet in. Not Biblically mandated but culturally relevant.

    The other thing is that we will always have people coming in who are at different levels in their walk and in their maturity. Some will make their decision to stay based on whether or not we have a SS program and what quality it is, this is a fact we have to consider.

    They say that the majority of people decide to stay based on the first few minutes of walking into the building (before the preaching even starts) - the bathrooms and the SS classrooms (if they have kids). To me it's a silly thing - either God sends you and you stay no matter what or He doesn't but like I said, we have to be a people for all peoples.

    There is a purpose in it - remember Nola's message... it's not a babysitting club or a place to put your kids so you "don't miss out". God can speak to our kids and most times they hear Him a lot clearer than we do. We need to expect great things to come from our kids ~ the next generation of leaders!

    We need to provide every opportunity for every kid to hear the gospel and in turn share it with their sphere of influence. Pray that God will send more people with a passion to see our kids flourish, emotionally and spiritually to help along side you.

  5. hello Ruth,
    I did not grow up in a Christian house but was encouraged to go to Sunday School, and I've found that it is those times spent learning about God from people I loved and respected that have lasted nearly 40 years.
    My children have all grown up in a christian house, but I know they have treasured time away from Mum and Dad when they could be with their peers and just learn about God in a different way.
    I also agree with Lala's World, it's great to have a break from being a Mum 24/7 and just have half an hour or so to hear what God is saying to you.
    Mums need their spiritual batteries charging too.
    Also there are services once a month where the children stay in the main church and there is a family service, so they have had both 'worlds' where we worship. Though they did love sunday school.
    love Susan

  6. I agree with Shasher. In Jesus time they had many things that we don't have and we have many tools they did not have. I do believe that we have a building as a location to be based out of as is the culture of the times we live in. Church is not confined to this location. It is at home, work and school. At the park and on the bus, in the hospital too. God can not be confined, nor can his word be learned in only one place. Some children can follow and retain in an adult service at a young age - some can not. When we say sunday school is the only place for children that is a tragedy. If a child shows an interest in the message or a lack of interest in sunday school, why not listen. I see sunday school as a place for children to dig deep into the word. A time to express what God is saying to them personally. Maybe the process of sunday school is needing an overhaul.

  7. I have also pondered this. My husband teaches in Sunday school and this has been a sore spot for us at times. There are many reasons that we (I) like our children to worship with us. One of them is that my boys can see their dad and other men praise & worship and be vulnerable before the Lord. With him working 40 hours a week there isn't a lot of time to witness this, even though my husband is a godly man. I want to make the most of this opportunity, especially with the pull of a wicked society on boys/men today. They watch him and the other adults and emulate. They do listen and retain some of the message and sometimes during the we talk about it. Doesn't happen all the time, but enough times to let me know this is what "we" need to do. Sure, sometimes they get a little antsy but we deal with it. We've done it since they were newborns so it's second nature to them. I may be biased, but I don't sense any deficit in them spiritually because they stay with us. Most of them were born again at an early age and it did not take place in Sunday School but at home. It's not easy to do this though when we are the only family that does this...lots of stares in the beginning. But I think they have gotten used to us by now. LOL. We have a family service every few months and when I see the parents and their children by their side, something in my spirit says "Yes!" And when we experience communion together as a family it is very sweet.

    With all that said...the Bible says" Let everyone be fully convinced in their own mind" (Romans 14)about their decisions. Thank God we have the freedom to choose. My husband and I have come to a middle ground with my 11 year old...when he teaches, my son goes with him. Whatever works for you work it! :-)

  8. Just browsing and saw this topic. I don't mind the fact that kids go to Sunday School and for the record, I've studied a little Jewish history and boys would attend lessons at the "House of the Book" or Synagogue and study the holy scriptures. I don't think his parents went with him since they were busy with the household chores and farming. I'm pretty sure Jesus also left his family to go study. In fact, they studied up until 13 when they became of age, and then some went to study in Jerusalem.

    So to send them to Sunday school or not, that is the question and I guess the answer is personal. I like my kids in Sunday School because I know they physically can't sit still in church and Sunday School is more fun and will capture their attention.(Plus I homeschool them all week and enjoy the break.) They also do things in Sunday School we can't do at home.

    But one thing I do enjoy is having them with me for praise and worship.

    I think we Christians worry about this issue too much. Jesus said let the little children come to me. Whether they come in Sunday School, in the pew next to you or at home shouldn't matter. What should matter is that they come!

  9. I am writing an essay on the importance of involving children in church at a young age. And in my research I googled this blog, decided to read it; thus my input:

    I agree with you absolutely. However I do believe that standard sunday teachings are too long and monotonous for a child's short attention span to handle. So I think that is why Sunday school is important for our children.

    Now, if we could combine the sunday school with our church service, and construct a way in which adults can learn with their children the teachings of the lord, WITHOUT the children losing inspiration (getting bored). I propose we take the fun activities in sunday school, along with the direct readings and interpretations from the bible, and present this atmosphere to our children.

    I think our children will receive a higher developed learning of the bible if we make an attempt to teach it to them whilst we are there to support their learning.