Children in Worship
“People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.”
Mark 10:13-16 (NRSV).
The parents knew. They knew that Jesus was something big; someone that they knew they had to introduce their children to. Sadly, children were not seen to have any value during the time Jesus was teaching, healing, and introducing the world to a better way to love God. So the disciples tried to turn them away. This did not sit well with Jesus and he let his disciples know and went against what the disciples were saying by inviting the children to come. Jesus made time for children, welcomed them, and blessed them. Jesus again turned the tables upside down by doing something that went against the societal norm. Children were just as welcomed and just as loved as any other person in the eyes of Jesus.
At Port Byron First, we take pride in also welcoming children of all ages to participate in the life of the church. When it comes to some of God’s younger children, we fully celebrate the giggles and wiggles that God gave them. They are such an important part of our worship community and their presence brings so much more joy to our worship.
We strive to build lifelong disciples at PB First UMC and studies show that when children are in worship with their families their chances of remaining committed to their faith beyond high school increases. They learn by watching you. Children see the importance of your faith as you listen, sing, pray, give, and celebrate the sacraments they are learning (more than we sometimes realize!) what it looks like to worship the Jesus they are learning to love.
We want all the children who join us for worship on Sunday mornings to be comfortable and feel welcome in worship each week. Busy bags, coloring books, and word searches, and children’s Bibles are available for their use at the back of the sanctuary. We also have a nursery that is available as needed for children kindergarten and under.
I remember being a young mom in worship. It was hard. They didn’t sit still. They were noisy. They dropped things, asked questions (loudly) during prayer time, and smashed their snacks in the pews. I found myself in the fellowship hall with them more than I felt I was in the pew with them. I wondered why I kept coming. But it was the powerful moments of watching my children “get it” while they were in worship, outside of worship and the kind, encouraging words from congregation members that reminded us that it was worth it to keep showing up with them every Sunday.
So this is my encouragement to you: Good job. You’re doing it! Don’t stop! It’s OK if you don’t think they are listening. It’s also OK if you aren’t able to listen right now. It’s just a season. Being in worship with your children is far more important than being able to fully engage right now. THANK YOU for bringing your children to worship and making worship a priority in your family. Thank you for taking on the role as their spiritual leader and surrounding them with other adults who love Jesus too when you bring them to discipleship group, VBS, confirmation, and youth group.
I pray PB First is and continues to be a place where your family will worship together and grow deeper in your love of God and love of others. If there is anything I can do to help the way your family is following God together, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Grace and peace,