Some children love going to children’s church every Sunday. They have no trouble saying goodbye to their parents at the door, have lots of fun during the programme, and come home proudly showing off their completed activities.
My own children, now 18 months and 3.5 years of age, are the exact opposite. Both of them refuse to attend the children’s church on their own and throw tantrums when we try to leave them there.
On a typical Sunday morning, we would be in a frenzy getting the kids ready for church, putting on an extra bright and cheery demeanour and talking to them about how church would be so much fun! When we are on our way to church, our elder son would start saying that he doesn’t want to go. We would then try to overcome his fearfulness by reminding him of the craft time, which he enjoys, and how he gets to play with his friends at church.
None of that seems to work, and as a result, my husband and I have to accompany them to children’s service every single week. As our kids are in different classes, it means neither of us get to attend the adult service.
A Commitment Despite the Hassle
Naturally, we have questioned if it is really worth bringing our children to church, and whether we should continue doing so. It is also tiring to constantly persuade our children to go to church every Sunday, and we really have to work at helping our kids stay engaged.
Wouldn’t it be easier and more beneficial if we do church at home ourselves to cater to their specific likes and dislikes, since we know how to engage them with a more targeted programme? Alternatively, we could simply leave them at home with a babysitter so that we can go to church, kids-free!
We know full well that imparting faith in our children begins at home, and children’s church doesn’t replace our role in teaching them about God and helping them develop their own faith. So, we continue to press on in bringing our kids to church every Sunday, despite the tiredness, despite the spiritual dryness we experience, and despite our own misgivings about the programming in the children’s church. We do so not because we have to, but because we want to.
Remembering the Value of Attending Church
We want to help our little ones grow to learn about God and His character, through the carefully crafted Bible stories and activities. We desire for them to know, love and one day serve Him in the local church, and love the church the way Christ does so (Ephesians 5:25), in spite of all its imperfections.
“We desire for them to know, love and one day serve Him in the local church, and love the church the way Christ does so, in spite of all its imperfections.”
Through our own faithfulness in bringing them to church despite their resistance, we hope to model for them the value of setting aside time to go to God’s house weekly. They may not fully understand it now, but we hope that with time and prayer, they will find joy in meeting God in church.
“They may not fully understand now, but we hope that with time and prayer, they will find joy in meeting God in church.”
If you are in a similar situation as ours, we have found the following tips useful in helping our children enjoy church better:
- Help your children build a relationship with the teachers
We would talk about the teachers in our conversations at home, and talk about what they taught our children. We also encourage our children to greet the teachers when we meet them and give a hi-5 to help build rapport.
- Help your children build friendships with the other children
If another parent in your small group fellowship has a child who is attending the same class, make every attempt to let your children play together so that they can form friendships and desire to be at church together.
- Continue to sing the songs and talk about the bible story taught throughout the week
We would continue to sing the songs and do the actions at home as part of our family devotional time so that our children will enjoy the praises in church too. Repeating the bible stories allows them to clarify any aspects they might be unsure about as well as to help reinforce the message delivered.
Since we don’t want our kids to dislike going to church or feel forced to go just because their parents are committed Christians, we choose to lay down our own desires and will continue to accompany them to children’s church for the time being. Granted, we as parents will have to be extra intentional in personally replenishing our tanks but we believe it will be a worthy investment.
Meanwhile, we continue to look forward to the day when our kids will happily wave goodbye to us when we drop them off at church.
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