Children’s Church – Is It Authorized?
The practice of taking the young children out of the worship assembly has come to be called “children’s church” in many corners. The purpose of this is to train and teach the children in a less formal setting that encourages them to “enjoy” church while allowing their parents to worship without distraction. This may sound good on the surface. However, it is important to ask some questions before giving in to any practice that involves worship to our God. Firstly, and most importantly, what does God’s Word teach on the subject? Is it authorized in the Scriptures? Does the Bible give us examples or principles to draw from that may help us come to a conclusion as to whether this is acceptable in God’s sight? Why would we separate children from the worship assembly in order to teach them about worship?
God’s Word is clear that parents have the primary responsibility of training, teaching, and molding their children in the way of the Lord (Ephesians 6:1-4; Proverbs 22:6, 15; 23:13). It is upon this foundation that we should honestly ask ourselves if it is beneficial for children to be trained in spiritual matters by adults (or teens) other than their parents each Sunday during a very teachable time period (worship assembly). Some may consider separating children from adults for worship no different than separating them for Bible classes. The biggest difference is that the Bible class is an expediency in helping fulfill the command to be diligent to rightly divide God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15). It is a time that Christians (and children) can gather to study, discuss, and learn more of God’s Word and to learn from one another. Thus, it is understandable that we would want our children in Bible class learning at a level they can understand from a faithful teacher. (It might also be said here that it is wise for our teachers to rotate teaching, so the adult teachers may benefit from Bible study with other learned adults periodically.) Worship to our Maker, on the other hand, is commanded (John 4:21-24; Revelation 14:7, 22:9) and the Bible emphasizes the importance of worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Worship is purposeful and intentional. It is a time to give glory to our Creator in fellowship (oneness) with other Christians (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). It is sinful for Christians not to assemble with the designated gathering of the congregation (Hebrews 10:24-25). The practice of excluding certain individuals from the worship assembly is not authorized in God’s Word. Anytime young children leave the assembly, an adult must accompany them. Thus, congregations practicing children’s worship contribute to excluding people from the assembly on a regular basis. Paul wrote to Christians in 1 Corinthians 11:20 that “when you come together in one place” there should be no divisions. Since the Old Testament was written for our learning (Romans 15:4), then in Nehemiah chapter eight, the Holy Spirit says more than once that “all the people gathered together” to hear the reading of the law, emphasizing the oneness of the worship assembly. (Other aspects of worship could be pointed out here from this chapter and would be beneficial for all Christians to study – Nehemiah 8:5-6; 12:43; also study 2 Chronicles 20:13; Ezra 10:1) Therefore, the worship assembly should be a time in which the whole congregation comes together in one place to praise God in unison. The worship assembly can be a learning experience each Sunday for children. They see how adults behave and respond as everyone sings, prays, reads/listens to the Word, gives of their means, and partakes of the Lord’s Supper together (and sometimes they will witness a baptism or restoration). Surely, we can see how important this must be for future generations of the Lord’s church. It is also worthy to note that the children were such an integral part of the affairs of the church of the first century that they would even accompany the church in bidding farewell to faithful gospel preachers (Acts 21:4-5; also study Matthew 14:13, 19-21; 15:29-38).
Do we desire our children to learn how to worship our Almighty God from faithful, convicted saints? Then, they must see it in action. Yes, children can become distracted and inattentive at times (or distract their parents), but at a very young age, they can learn to sit still, be respectfully quiet, and enjoy participating in the singing and giving. Who better to learn spiritual essentials from than one’s parents who are obeying God by gathering with the saints?
The Gospel of Christ
This material is copyrighted by The Gospel of Christ and its authors. This information is free to use in its entirety without further consent, however, modifications should not be made without contacting firstname.lastname@example.org for permission. Any and all images contained herein are believed to be free for all distribution and content.