"Our kids can learn to enjoy church when they watch how much we enjoy worshiping the Lord and caring about the body of Christ."
For adults, attending church is an experience like no other. We assemble together, a group of people of different ages and from varying backgrounds, to learn more about God, to sing praises to Him, and to fellowship with others. As fulfilling as these services may be for adults, children oftentimes view attending church as a once a week obligation that they would rather avoid. It can be hard for them to sit or stand and listen for an extended period of time, and that can make church extremely boring for them. Their outlook on church does not have to be this way, however, and parents should do all that they can to assist their children in having enjoyable church experiences.
Start with your attitude about going to church. Do you and your spouse enjoy attending church or is it just another duty that you both reluctantly do? Do you allow any excuse to prevent you and your family from attending? As a parent, your attitude toward church will rub off on your children.
Spend time at home reading the Bible as a family together and praying together. Also, incorporate singing and worshiping God into your everyday life. There are many Christian children’s songs. Purchase some cds or download songs on your computer or smart phone. When your children arrive at church, all that is done at church will already be a part of their experiences at home.
It is important is to find out if your church has a children’s ministry that is geared for your children’s ages. Children’s ministries are developed to teach them the Word of God in fun-filled ways. I served as a lay children’s minister for many years and can tell you that a children’s ministry is not all games and laughter, though it may appear that way. In fact, I attended several children’s ministry training conferences just to learn more about making our children’s ministry better. Ministers and volunteers spend a lot of time planning out what will keep the children’s attention and at the same time help them learn the Word and develop a deep love for Christ. From lessons to songs to puppet skits to games – everything is centered on God.
If your church does not have a children’s ministry, there are many things that you can do to help your children have enjoyable experiences, especially because of their short attention spans. First, put together what is called a “worship bag”, which is a backpack with coloring sheets, crayons, cute stickers and many other items that will keep your children busy while the adult sermon is being preached. Contact your church’s office beforehand to find out what subject or scripture verse will be in Sunday’s message and gather items that are on that specific topic. Include a few simple snacks too as little ones have appetites.
Second, encourage your children to participate during the service. Allow them to hold the hymn book and put money into the offering basket. This will make them feel included.
Third, talk with your children after church to find out what they learned. Ask questions. This will generate their thought processes and help them develop their knowledge about the Bible more. And, since children love sharing what they learned, these discussions will motivate them to pay close attention so they can do so.
The Bible instructs us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25) Adults and children attending church is important to God. By being engaged with your children in every step of their church experience, you will help them grow to enjoy church services and fellowship with other believers.