This Sunday, May 29th is Family Worship Sunday. This Sunday you and your kids (ages Pre-K - 5th grade) will worship together in the larger gathering as a family. You can choose to attend either the 9am or 11am service because there is no regular CoaH Kids program this week (except for nursery-aged kids). We will have Family Worship Sunday two more times this summer: July 3rd & Aug 14th.
Is Family Worship Sunday just a day when you have to endure your restless kiddos as they sit through the entire service whispering and disturbing the people around them? Yes, there is probably going to be some of that depending on the ages of your kids. But Family Worship Sunday is more than that.
The idea for Family Worship Sunday came out of an experience that my family had when visiting another church over the Christmas holidays. We were visiting my in-law's church where the children were expected to sit quietly throughout the entire the service. Most of the other kids in that church were accustomed to this practice. That was not the case with my daughter. At one point, she could hardly contain herself and whispered loudly that it was "so boring." We may have received a few looks.
At the end of the service I told my husband that we needed to give our daughter more opportunities to "practice" sitting through the service. After all, our CoaH Kids program only goes up to 5th grade and then it's "big" church every week.
After my initial reaction to my daughter's behavior in church, I started thinking about the church as a body and a child's place within it. While I believe that a children's ministry has a purpose and provides a great opportunity to bring the gospel to kids at their maturity level, it's important that we remember that we recognize that kids have a place in the church as a whole.
Here's a good article by Valerie Ackermann about why kids should worship alongside the adults on Sunday morning. She reminds us that "[s]o much is learned by little ones watching. They watch not only us as parents, but others. They see one example after another of people coming together to worship God. All this is missed if they aren’t allowed to be part of the bigger service."
We at CoaH feel that Family Worship Sunday is a good reminder to you as parents that you are the primary disciple-maker of your children. You have the opportunity to model worship for your kids as we do in the larger gathering. We also believe it allows the church as a whole to identify our families and celebrate your children as part of the church. Once someone told me offhandedly that she "often forgets that there are children in the church" because they are tucked away in CoaH Kids.
So come this week and worship with your kids in the larger gathering. We'll have a couple of songs picked especially for them that are familiar from CoaH Kids worship. And I'll have an activity packet available to use during the sermon if your child gets a little restless. Looking forward to worshiping with our families this week!
-Mollie Dykstra, Director of CoaH Kids