Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Experience With Childrens' Church

What I would like to do is share my experience on this subject, for what it's worth.... I guess just another opinion : ) I also would like to defend those parents that do chose to send their children to these ministries......yes ministries, that's what they are. I have used/needed to use them. This is my story:

When I began to attend church on a regular basis I had 4 small children ~ ages 7-to a baby. I had several older & more mature Christians as well as some family members that encouraged me to keep my children with me in church. They said the children needed to hear what I was hearing, learn what I was learning, sings hymns to the Lord that I was singing. We needed to be together. I trusted their wisdom. In all honesty, I was never big on putting my children in nursery because they didn't like it, they would just cry and get upset and wanted to be with mommy. So I didn't put them in there. I chose to keep them with me after listening to others advice/encouragement on the subject.

My 3 older children all did well in church, were never difficult, but the baby on the other hand was not, especially the older he got. It was okay for awhile though because I had family there to help (my husband did not attend church with me at this time) . If I needed to step out with the baby they were there to help by supervising the other children. It all worked out quite well until...........................these family members found a new church to go to. I didn't go with them to the new church for a few reasons , one being that my husband didn't want me to. He didn't go to church with me but didn't mind me going , so I decided to just stay put. So there I was every Sunday/Wed. sitting in the pews with 4 little ones. The littlest a toddler by this time became more & more difficult and disruptive during church. I would have to walk out with him often and was leaving my 3 other children sitting in the pews by themselves. I wouldn't take them all out with me everytime the little one would get rowdy, could you imagine the disruptiveness that would cause : )My toddler wouldn't go in the nursery, he would get so upset.

One time I put him in there and when one of the nursery workers had turned her back for a second to help another child he had opened the door and went running down the hall (sreaming) to the sanctuary. She caught him just as he opened the door to the sanctuary. So I'm sure you could see my dilema. Sit out in the hallway with my little one while my 3 older children sat in the church service by themselves, unsupervised. I became more & more discouraged and frustrated....leaving church in tears because I couldn't handle the situation myself & I wasn't hearing the service. Discouraged.....I gave up and stopped going to church. I wasn't hearing the word and losing out on the benefit of the encouragemnet it brought to my heart. What good was I to my kids if I wasn't hearing the word?

I knew the answer to this problem was not to stop going to the church, so I did what I had to.... I decided to put my children in childrens' church. The good thing was that my church ministered to me with a Christian love & allowed my toddler to go into childrens' church with my older kids even though they usually left the younger kids in the nursery. He was very content to be with his siblings & behaved very well because the class was more on his level.

Every family has a different situation or circumstances and it's not "a one size fits all " solution or choice . It doesn't make you less Godly or less loved by God or less of a parent if your children go to nursery/children's church. If you find yourself in a similar situation be encouraged and don't give up : )


Suzanne said...

What an encouraging testimony! We have and have not used childrens ministries also--it has all depended on the child. It does not make one more Godly to not use the ministries our churches put in place. These ministry workers are called to this vocation and who would say that God isn't calling them when they clearly hear the call to work in them.

~Bren~ said...

I was the head of our children's ministry for years. It definitely is a need for most parents. I always send my kids when they can talk. Before that, I have put them in the nursery IF I know the person. Still my Zachary was found (by me) at age 2 with thumb tacks in his mouth when I picked him up. The worker was visiting with a friend who did not have a child in the nursery. I was not happy and from then on kept him with me til he was older. In the same sense, once they hit the age where they can "get it" I have them with me again. Some would say a 3 year old could get it. I feel differently. Right now Charlotte at age 11 sits with me and Zach at age 7 goes to children's church after the praise and worship. He would feel punished if I made him miss it. He always comes out with a valuable lesson and has learned much scripture in CC. We also do Wednesday night Awanas...I do the Cubbies so my grandson can go. I feel better that I am in there.

Nancy said...

I have a sister in law that just started coming to church. She has 6 children age 8 and under. her kids are not yet use to coming to church and so she had a very difficult time this last Sunday. her husband doesn't come either. I felt bad for her. in our church we have many big families and all parents have their kids with them... so we are all use to this. But I felt bad for her Sunday and I can see how it would be a good thing in some situations to have a place for the kids.
I think to each their own on this. Our needs are all different.

Nancy said...

Did you get my message on facebook? I know it's a lot to take in or understand. You must think I'm really strangs! lol or maybe I shouldn't even lol about it!

prov31rj said...

Very good post. Each family and circumstance is unique. When dd was littler, she went to the nursery and then to children's church when she was old enough. A couple of years ago, dh and I decided it was time for her to be in church with us.

~Bren~ said...

How are you doing???

Anonymous said...

Ooooh I love the look of your blog! Very pretty. :)

As for us, my husband and I, we put our kids in children's church. They get a whole lot more out of it than they do having to sit still and be quiet through services and we do too. We found it so frustrating to try and keep them with us - nobody got anything out of anything. We keep them with us during worship and then take them. Surprisingly, we are the only ones who seem to do that. That is ok though. It's whatever works for each family. My kids are young and maybe it will be different when they are older, I don't know. But for now at nearly 2 and 4, they do best in programs designed for them and my husband and I are able to concentrate on the sermon. It's good for us. We don't have all the kinks worked out yet but we are on the right road we think. Anyway, that is how we handle it. I like what you said about it not being a one size fits all choice. That is funny because I just said that exact same thing to you in an email about homemaking. Ha! Our minds are running together with just about a months difference in time frame. :)

Take care,

His Tender Mercies said...

I agree with you Rebecca. Many kids at those young ages just don't have the maturity level to sit still very long. My youngest who is 3 stays with us because she screams in the nursery. She's for the most part very patient and well behaved during church but does have her "moments" where we have to take her out in the hall. Really though I see nothing wrong with either choice. My 8 year old goes to children's church after the worship part of the service and we are okay with that. Our children's church is for kids 4yrs up to second grade.