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Children in Corporate Worship

November 16 2017
November 16 2017
children in church

This is Part 2 of a multi-part series on helping your child grow into faith from Redeemer's Children's Ministry Director Sarah Beaugh (sarahb@redeemersa.org). You can read Part 1 here.

When my family first started visiting Redeemer, one of the first things that intrigued us was the inclusion of children in the worship service. We were not used to seeing young children participate in Sunday morning worship so fully, and we loved it. For our family, it was not always an easy process, but we persevered knowing we wanted this for our children and our family.

I sometimes have families who are new to Redeemer or who have a child old enough to begin transitioning out of the nursery ask for advice on how to begin helping that child participate in the worship service. It’s helpful to take a long view, knowing that this is a process. But, I want to pass along a few thoughts:

Our Training in the Pews (TIP) program is designed to help children and families navigate the transition between the nursery and the worship service. During the sermon portion of the worship service, children ages 4-6 are dismissed to TIP. We have a rotation of teachers, including Redeemer’s elders, who prepare a lesson for the children based on the sermon passage for the day. There are also music leaders who begin and end the  lesson with songs.

  • Children can join in at TIP any time during the year. Since you know your child’s personality best, you can choose when and how you do this.
  • Some parents sit with their children the first couple of times they come to Training in the Pews. Some try to find a friend of their child’s who is attending TIP — this can be a great way to help your child feel more comfortable!
  • Most parents talk about this move ahead of time with their child. It may be helpful to choose an upcoming milestone event on the calendar and talk to your child about starting then to get them excited about it. (After your birthday, in the summer, after Christmas, etc.)

Additionally, the entire service has numerous opportunities for children to participate. They can join in singing God’s praises, pray with God’s people, affirm their beliefs with the great church creeds, confess their sin to God and hear his pardon. All of these aspects are opportunities for your children to be formed in their faith. That is why we want them to participate alongside the grownups.

I understand that this model can be a big change if it is not what you are used to, and we want you to know you are not alone in the process. This is something we undertake together as a church, because the body of Christ has no age requirements and the gospel is for everyone, even the very young. I’d like to encourage you to try keeping your children with you for worship. Perhaps Advent (beginning December 3) is a good time to start. Your children will probably know many of the carols, and the lighting of the Advent wreath is a beautiful visual story of anticipating and celebrating Christ's birth. It will be an excellent time to help them transition into worshipping God with you.

And here is another blessing of having children in worship: When children have the audacity to receive God’s gifts, which they could in no way deserve on the basis of their knowledge or experience, the rest of the church can learn again the meaning of child-like trust and faith. That is what Jesus taught when he said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Luke 19:14) What a beautiful picture of God’s grace! My hope for you is that your family will experience the gift of worshipping together.


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