Children Do Not Belong In Church…Or Do They? Part 3 Comments Worth Repeating


While writing this short series, I noticed that mommas had a few questions about this topic.  Well, more than just a few questions.  I have fielded a lot of questions over the past few weeks.


I would love to address a couple of these questions to the best of my ability.  Please remember that I am but a simple minded human being with tons of flaws and shortcomings.  I do not have all of the answers.  I do adore my children however (which lead me to first research the biblically-soundness of Children’s Church), and I know the One who has all of the answers.

Okay, here we go…

First a couple of comments which are worth repeating.

“Very interested to see the rest of this series. Children belong where parents choose to bring them, period. They should not be made to feel unwelcome because someone prefers not to look at a child sitting in a pew or hear an occasional coo. If God can create an entire universe, die and come back to life, confuse language in thousands of people, part a sea and then bring it back down at the exact moment He desires, and create a virgin birth, He can speak to someone’s heart even if a baby coos or a child is sitting in a pew next to them.”

“I was just thinking about this the other day. We do not have a children’s church. There is a nursery for moms to take their babies to when they are fussy, and the sermon is broadcasted in there for them. But on the whole, the children are required to sit with their parents the full 2 hour service.  I was watching the parents with their children one Sunday and something occurred to me.  Having the children sit there, and teaching them to be quiet like that, is teaching them self-denial. In a world were kids are used to getting what they want when they want it; I found it refreshing to see these kids learn to deny self even for a couple hours.”

The following is the perspective of a single young lady.  Her comment is refreshing to hear!

“In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8 verses 1-3 indicate that there was no division when the Law of the LORD was read- the people “gathered as one man”, both men and women, and “all who could understand what they heard” to hear the reading of the Law. Children understand a lot more than adults give them credit for- (trust me, I’m an elementary school teacher!) and are capable of understanding what is going on in the service. Also, if you have Children’s Church, when/where/how are you training your little ones how to behave in the assembly and the importance and reasons for the acts of worship?

I am putting myself out there a little bit by saying this, but when I have little ones that want to come and sit with “Miss Sarah” during services, they know that they need to bring their Bibles, and something to “take notes” with for the sermon. Before services begin, I talk about what we are going to do, why we worship, and how important it is that we sing and pay attention, because we showing God we love Him. When they sit with me I give them each a songbook and help them find the songs, and have them sing with me. When it comes time for the sermon, they will “take notes” (for really little ones I will usually have them practice writing “God” or “Jesus” or something of the sort). While this may seem like “too much”, it has amazed me that keeping children actively engaged WITH you during the service is actually much easier than keeping them distracted during the service! And I have even been able to take notes myself!

(Caveat: I am not married, nor do I have children, and I do realize that having someone else’s kids sit with you is different (especially if they got the whole “I-expect-you-to-REALLY-behave-properly-since-you’re-not-sitting-with-us!” talk before the service). However, it does encourage me to realize that training in the assembly CAN be done, and NEEDS to be, if we expect our children to remain faithful to the Lord.”

Now onto a few questions that I have been asked quite often…

What do I do if I am needed during the service?  (as in playing the piano)

This might be tough to hear, but as mothers, our first and most important ministry is our family.  If there is no one else available to sit with your very young children while you play the piano, than most likely you should step down.  Even if there is no one else available to play.

What do I do if my husband is a youth pastor and strongly feels the need for our children to participate in Children’s Church?

Honestly, we are to be submissive to our husbands unless they are asking us to sin.  I would discuss this topic in great detail with my husband, and if he still doesn’t agree I would pray, and then pray some more.  The Lord will work on our husband’s hearts if they are truly seeking Him. 

What if we feel like sending our children to Children’s Church would be a sin? (I know that for me it definitely is.)  James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  We need to be mindful of this verse when we are prayerfully making this decision with our spouse.

What do I do if my baby gets fussy?

First of all, I’ve never suggested that fussy babies should remain in service.  As mothers, it is our duty to remove our baby and ourselves from the sanctuary until the baby is calm.  Baby noises should not be considered distracting, but distressed baby screams are.  We (mothers) are not instructed to stay in the church service at all times (as some like to believe), but we are taught to care for our children scripturally.

In the book Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl, a disturbing story is told.  A young missionary husband was off to help someone in need, and his wife decided to come with him.  She felt that in doing so she would be helping in the Lord’s ministry.  She left her infant daughter with a local family whom she thought she could trust.  She was gone for around fifteen minutes, and during this time her baby was molested.  So often we feel like church ministries, such as youth leadership, music ministry, and other similar church functions override our duty to physically be with our children during church.  We need to remember that there is no greater ministry than our family.  We might ask why God had not protected her daughter.  He had sent protection, in the form of a mother, and she chose to leave her daughter.

I hope that this series has been helpful to you.  I’m continually learning more about this topic myself as I seek to best serve my Lord!


10 thoughts on “Children Do Not Belong In Church…Or Do They? Part 3 Comments Worth Repeating

  1. Michele P says:

    Nicole, Thank you for tackling this subject. It is a hard one! We have raised three “olders” and are now teaching our youngest, 6 years old, to sit through church. It is a challenge, makes me very self conscious at times (at a new church since our move) and is time consuming, but oh, so worth it! I believe he is right where the Lord wants him…with his family, worshiping his Creator! Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. rebecca says:

    I’ve not read all of the comments so maybe someone else suggested this.
    For ones that are too young to take notes I write words like God, Jesus, love, obey. Then when the minister says that word they put a tally mark by it. It helps them pay attentions and helps keep their hands busy. I have several who listen better if their hands are busy. As the message progresses I add other words that are being used.

  3. Gwendolyn says:

    Thank you for addressing this topic. We have chosen to keep our 7 kids (12 to 11 months) in the service with us, and it can be really difficult, especially since we are the largest family in our church and one of the few that doesn’t utilize the nursery or children’s church. The hardest part for me is knowing when to take out the baby, since I am super self-conscious of every noise she makes and don’t want to be a distraction. Because of this, I haven’t been able to sit through a whole church service in years.

  4. shannon says:

    That story of Debi Pearl’s you shared is heartbreaking. I had commented last week and wanted to follow up again this week to see your thoughts on reaching unsaved children whose parents will not come to church. I do not see having children in church as a black and white issue. I am VERY opposed to any church that doesn’t “allow” children with their parents; if I visited such a church I wouldn’t stay. But, I was blessed in the past to attend a church with an active bus ministry. The bus brought in many children and teens that otherwise would not have come to church because their parents were unchurched, let alone unsaved. We were blessed to witness many children receive Christ and get baptised and the pastor led a few of their parents to the Lord as well.

  5. shannon says:

    Opps, must have hit enter. Anyway, I agree it is best to have children sit in the service (and that is what I do with my two, soon to be three children) but what about a bus ministry? I think second best would be families bringing in neighborhood children and having them sit with them in the pew while making the ride home and to church a fun experience, but that rarely seems to happen. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

  6. par_ says:

    I love hearing baby noises in the worship service! Our pastors always say that it’s a sign that we are growing up as a congregation.

    I do want to register my objection to that story by the Pearls. Apart from being highly suspicious in its details (how did the family discover this molestation?)… God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, and that story is meant to do nothing but stir up fear in the hearts of mothers. God is our ultimate protector, and in the end we have to entrust the people we love to the care of the Lord, rather than trying to trust in our own vigilance (which is imperfect) or presence (which is never guaranteed in this fleeting life). That kind of “look what can happen if you leave your child for even a MOMENT” is so fear-engendering, so emotionally dangerous for mamas, so isolating. God has placed loving caregivers in the lives of most Christian families, and in the vast, vast majority of cases, those caregivers are trustworthy, and represent God’s grace to parents. In Christ, the vision of fruitfulness and family is extended beyond the nuclear family to the entire body of Christ, and we all, together, get to participate in the joy of bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    Just on a personal note, I was systematically molested as a child by a female relative just ONE YEAR older than I! My parents left me alone with her all the time when our family was together, because what parent wouldn’t!? But I would never use my story as a cautionary tale — all it would serve to do would be to make parents mistrust and withhold love from the people in their lives who should be trusted, to whom the “debt of love” must be paid.

    Yes, a mama’s primary ministry is to her family, but she also has a loving Father who offers her grace, and sends others to help her carry her load “and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Let’s not forget that sweet and precious truth.

      • par_ says:

        Wait. God hasn’t put your entire family in the body of Christ to be ministered to? God hasn’t given people around you the gift of loving and caring for you? The command to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” doesn’t apply to people who can love and serve mamas and families? You should be suspicious of everyone around you as sin dangers and potential molesters and therefore never leave your children for one second? I’m sure you don’t agree with those things (you seem like a reasonable person! :D), so I guess I’m puzzled about what you disagree with.

      • Nicole says:

        Also, I wanted to say that I’m so sorry for your molestation story! I believe that if the Lord blesses us with children, they are our absolute highest calling. The way you are saying “we should bear one another’s burdens” sounds like you are referring to children as the burdens. That verse doesn’t refer to the children/parent relationship at all in my opinion. Personally, I do not leave my children with anyone other than their grandparents. The Lord called me to be their mother at every moment, and nothing is more important. I do believe that you should tell your story as a cautionary tale. No, the Lord doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but if we can learn to be a better parent by someone else’s mistake that is a good thing.

  7. Mrs B says:

    I do think parents need to be told cautionary tales such as above. Many people are molested by children, not adults, and many molestors prey on young children and infants whom cannot tell a parent.

Leave a Reply