How To Do Church with Kids
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I grew up as a pastor’s kid and have always been involved in church. Like most people, I did have times in my life when I didn’t want to go, but overall I have always gone to church consistently. My husband also grew up heavily involved in church, actually in the same church we currently attend and where he is on staff, so we have the same values when it comes to church. One of the aspects of church we are both passionate about is doing church with our kids. We believe in the whole family serving, not just mom and dad. At their young ages, there’s not a ton of serving they can do but we make sure that they are in the church, seeing people serve and love Christ. It teaches them to be selfless and to love others, as Christ has commanded us to do.
I honestly don’t know how families do life without the support of a church family behind them; our church family prays for us, has counseled us, and even helped with day to day tasks when I’ve been sick or after surgeries. The friends we have made through our church are the kind of friends you never want to let go of; almost all of William and Daniel’s friends are from church and I love knowing that they come from families that have similar if not exactly the same values as our family.
As you can see, there are so many benefits your family can experience by attending church together. Let’s say you are totally about taking your kids to church and getting involved with them but you don’t know how. Maybe you don’t leave your baby often so they don’t do well in the nursery or maybe your preschooler is having some behavioral issues that make it hard for him to be in the classroom or maybe you’re new to the whole church thing and just don’t know how people do it with little kids.
We are by no means experts. Our kids are far from perfect and we have services where I’ll need to keep Daniel with me or William gets too worked up in his classroom and needs to be taken out. My kids also have a tendency to run around the church on their own because they are so familiar with it, being staff kids, which is typically fine but then William runs to the stage and finds the drums……
Even when the kids are being a pain in the butt, we make a point of still doing church with them because it is an important value in our family. I have found a few things that have helped us do church with little kids and I know they will help you, as well!
How To Do Church With Kids
1. Find a church with an awesome kids’ ministry
For young families, this is essential and should really be a priority when looking for a church. You want to find a kids’ ministry where you trust the pastor/director/volunteers, that follows a good curriculum, that provides support to families, and that your kids enjoy attending.
If you’re currently looking for a church, don’t be afraid to ask the church staff questions! We are more than happy to answer any question, no matter how annoying it may seem. We want you to find a place where you and your family are comfortable and to be comfortable, you need to ask questions.
Don’t know what kind of questions to ask about kids’ ministry? Here are a few starters:
- How are the age groups/grades separated?
- What is the typical volunteer to child ratio?
- What do they do in [whatever class your child(ren) is in]?
- What curriculum do you follow?
- What is security like in the kids’ ministry area?
2. Get connected
It takes a tribe. I cannot say that enough. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe. It takes a tribe.
We are not meant to do life on our own. Romans 12:4-5 (TLB) says, “Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others.”
Get connected by joining a small group or by finding a place to serve. Build relationships and find people to do life with. Most of the people at our church campus (we attend one of our church’s satellite campuses) at least recognize our kids and know to stop William from running up on stage or out the doors. Allowing other people to help with the kids at church has been indispensable to me while pregnant with baby #3 and I am so thankful for everyone in our church.
3. Ask for help + be willing to receive it
Sometimes people just don’t know that you need help or what help to offer, even if they are willing to help. So just ask! It never hurts to ask! Ask someone to do something as simple as hold your baby while you get a coat on your toddler or ask someone if they can watch your kids while you go to an appointment. Just like life, you can’t do church with kids without asking for some help.
The other big thing is that you have to be willing to RECEIVE help. I often catch myself saying, “Oh no, I’m fine. But thanks!” when someone offers to help me with something. It’s like I have to prove that I can do it on my own; but like I said in #2, we aren’t meant to do life on our own. If someone on the parking team offers to carry the diaper bag for you when your hands are full, be willing to take the help.
5. Be patient and show grace
Even though my kids are (overly) comfortable at our church, they still have days where they don’t want to go back to their class or they throw tantrums in the middle of the lobby. I know very few children who are “perfectly” behaved at church (and even if they seem behaved to us, they likely are doing something to stress their parents out that we can’t see) so it’s totally normal for your little one to cause problems for you at church. Be patient with your child and show them some grace. Church can be overwhelming, there’s so many people and sounds and rules to follow and often a child will show overwhelm by acting out.
Not only do you need to be patient with your child and show your child grace, you need to be patient with yourself and show yourself some grace. Don’t beat yourself up for yelling at your preschooler in the middle of the church, that’s just life sometimes. Take a few deep breaths, maybe ask for some help, and be patient and show yourself grace.
Everyone has different expectations and values when it comes to church so you need to find what works for you and your family so you can successfully do church with kids. I’d love to hear about your experiences with taking your kids to church. Any funny/embarrassing stories to share? More tips for how to do church with kids? Comment below or tag me (@abbybarstow) in an Instagram post!