Family Integrated Worship

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by Kevin Lewis, Dec 23, 2006.

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  1. Kevin Lewis

    Kevin Lewis Puritan Board Freshman

    I am curious to get some people's feedback on family integrated worship in churches. If your church is family integrated, what are some things you do to involve your children more. Thanks for any input.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2007
  2. jenney

    jenney Puritan Board Freshman

    This has been here since before Christmas and I thought someone would get at it, but since no one has, I will at least ask to clarify:

    What is "family integrated worship"? Does that mean the whole family is together for the worship service?

    What other kind of worship service is there? Would that mean nursery care for toddlers? Or something different, like the teens meet separately? I'm sorry I don't have a clear idea so that I can answer what we do!

    You explain what you mean, and I'll try again!
  3. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    I apologise...I did not see this. (Thank you, Jenney, for bumping it)

    First of all, may I ask why the thumbs down in the title?
  4. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Our church debated this heavily about four years ago. At the time we decided against integrating worship. We have a nursery and childrens church. I am now changing my mind in respects to childrens church. Children should be with their parents during worship. Sure, five year olds are going to fidget, draw in coloring books and...well...act like five year olds. But they need to be under the influence of the word of God, not flannel graphs.

    I feel differently about nursery. Infants and some toddlers cannot function well in a worship service. The nursery doesn't necessarily need to be staffed. It could be on an "as needed" basis when crying cannot be controlled or a child is disruptive to the worship service. Instead of providing a staff that misses out on the preaching of God's word, parents can take their child into the nursery for as long as is needed.

    In summary, I would rather children be in the worship service with their family.
  5. MrMerlin777

    MrMerlin777 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I grew up going to churches that separated the adults fom the youth from the children. The rationale was almost "state school" in scope. All it ended up doing really was dumbing down and stunting the growth of alot of the kids going. And in the case of the youth group (of which I was a part at the time) it became very nearly a "church within a church" senario where what the youth were learning at times didn't nessicarily always square with what the adults were learning. It was a mess.
  6. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Hopefully this won't derail the thread's purpose - too much - but could someone help me out? I have no kids so I haven't walked a mile in any parent's shoe...That being said, why are kids allowed to color in coloring books during worship? Why can't they just sit still and pay attention (or at least fake it?) Eyes forward, sit on the hands, etc. I haven't been 5 for a while so I admit I don't remember what it was like.

    What are the practical obstacles and are there practical means of helping the little critters out or is this acceptable and expected?
  7. MrMerlin777

    MrMerlin777 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It took a bit of effort on my part because it divided my attention a bit, but when my son was small, if he was drawing I'd help him draw pictures dealing (on a child's level of course) with what was being said and what was going on. My son likes to sing so the singing in worship part wasn't hard. And we have prayer time at home so that wasn't partiularly hard for him to get either. It's mainly sitting and listening to someone talk in big words that he couldn't understand so to the best I could I'd help him draw things in pictures that aided his understanding of what was being said. Now my daughter has a different temperment. She's a bit of a "whiner" so if she get's out of hand I or my wife will remove her from the service and discipline if needed. But all in all she's starting to "get it" as well (as well as a six y/o can anyway).

    (This brings somthing to my mind that is off thread but when you all pray pray for my 10y/o son. He has migrane and a few Sundays of late he's had to run to the gent's and throw up because of the pain. It's not a fun thing to have to watch believe me.)
  8. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    I wondered the same thing. My kids are not allowed to color/doodle/etc. They sit with hands on lap and participate or else we visit the van were the rod resides. They are also not allowed to sleep. If any of them dose off we make them stand up.

    There was only one time since going to our new church back in September were I had to take my three year old out for discipline. Other than that one time they (my three oldest – 5, 4, & 3) all do well for morning and evening service. They enjoy opening the pew Bibles, Psalters, and hymnals (even if they are not on the right page) and participating with the congregation.

    Now my 17 month old is beginning her training. She usually needs taken out because she is too loud and disruptive. The new born just chills – all good. :)
  9. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    We have three little ones, 6, 4 and 20 months. Our youngest is actually the most difficult - squirmy, etc., in large part due to the fact that she normally naps at around 11, and our service begins at 10:30. All three love the singing, and are quiet during prayer times. During the sermon, the oldest generally either sits quietly, or, more recently, listens for things to write down - she's quite perceptive - the other day, she wrote down "it is finished" and "full atonement". Our middle one draws things - I haven't thought much about whether this is a problem or not. It's not disruptive, but I can understand the argument that it shouldnt' be allowed, since she's not fully attentive to what is being said. We're working on it.

    The biggest HELP, though, I can discuss - family worship, family worship, family worship. There must be nothing better than this for training your children to be quiet and attentive on Sundays. We are far from "there", but we do see changes that stem from our worship times as a family. Our youngest has a blanket on which she is expected to sit (it's the "quiet blanket") and she does obey quite reasonably. The other two are squirming less and less as time goes on - but this, I think is the key... if you're not doing family worship in which the children are expected to be quiet and still, and participate... then I can't see how there's much hope for them acting appropriately in the corporate worship of the church.
  10. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior


    This is, by leaps and bounds, the best manner of training. I was putting my 17 month old down for bed before family worship, but lately I feel she needs to be with us (it is in fact "Family" worship). It has been difficult to communicate to her that we expect her to be quiet. For the past two weeks though she has been doing quite well.
  11. polemic_turtle

    polemic_turtle Puritan Board Freshman

    "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." Rom 13:14

    I heard a pastor cite this once in regards to children being given material to quiet them and ensure that they will inevitably ignore God's word being preached.

    I'm against the looseness I see in congregations; I think children used to be kept on much shorter leashes. As J. I. Packer said, they used to "~dress them like adults and they really were more mature~". I don't like to see children being foolish in congregational worship; the rod should be removing it far from them, in my opinion.

    I am unlearned and inexperienced when it comes to raising children, but I know it's got to be some kind of a chore. I don't know how much harder it would be to raise your children like that today compared to back then, but I really appreciate the sight of anyone who tries to. Thank you.
  12. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Start from infancy (by keeping the child with you), take the child places with you that most might find a sitter for (restaurants), and simply just make it the way it is. Some children are more difficult than others though. I agree that family worship is also key. I don't like "children's church" or nurseries. I can see the use of a crying room though...a place for mothers to go with infants that are having a fit or to nurse the baby more comfortably (though I'm all for nursing an infant right in service as has been done throughout history).
  13. jaybird0827

    jaybird0827 PuritanBoard Honor Roll

    :ditto: This is the usual practice in the PRC.
  14. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    One of the reasons it's worth the three hour drive.
  15. Kevin Lewis

    Kevin Lewis Puritan Board Freshman

    Sorry for the missunderstanding....that was not a thumbs down. I thought it was as question "here is a question for all of you". Poor eyesight in my old age. I will be more careful from now on.

    We practice family integrated worship and love it by the way.
  16. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Fixed ;)

    There are ppl that do have a serious problem with it. That is why I asked and just wanted to know what concerns there might have been. Thanks for clarification :)

    BTW, Welcome to the board, sir!
  17. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    I still see the red thumbs down.

    (it looks so mean, make it go away)
  18. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Sore thumb gone bye-bye.
  19. Kevin Lewis

    Kevin Lewis Puritan Board Freshman

    Sorry everyone...didn't mean to start a red-thumb attack. :D
  20. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

  21. Robert Truelove

    Robert Truelove Puritan Board Sophomore

  22. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Senior

    Yeah thumbs down to family integrated worship! Boo!

    Just kidding!

    I do volunteer in the nursery, though (we provide childcare for those under four, everyone else is at the service). Does that make me an enabler?
  23. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Chris - I am going to defer to the parent on this. Some kids can sit quietly. Some kids can't. No too children are alike. Worship service isn't the time to have a drag out battle with a child to behave. If a parent can convice a child to pay attention...great! If they need a coloring book? Point me to the chapter and verse in the WCF or LBC that prohibits it. Not being sarcastic, just pro-parent!
  24. polemic_turtle

    polemic_turtle Puritan Board Freshman

    "and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." ;-)

    That's about all we need, I think, but if you need more, just think about in terms of the RPW. Does the Bible authorize the use of art in order to pacify children during worship? I believe the burden of proof has been shifted, so I'd like to disappear now. g'bye! :D
  25. Herald

    Herald Moderator Staff Member

    Cheap shot! It doesn't have to be "art" (if that is what you call a coloring book). Maybe the parent lets the kid twiddle his fingers...who knows? If the child is not being disruptive to others I have no problem with the parent excercising his or her authority with their child. It is enough that the child is with the parents and hearing God's word. As they mature they will listen more intently. I am reminded of a group of religious disciples who tried to chase a bunch of kiddies away from the One they were following. They thought the kiddies were bothering Him and not worthy of being seen. The One they were following had a different take. He warmly accepted these children for who they were. Some churches (you notice I am not saying "all churches") have become a place to be endured on Sundays. I know, this leads into a different topic for another thread but I can't help having a view of Jesus smiling on children. Or to be PB correct, smiling on "elect" children.
  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    How do we inculcate reverance for worship without making them hate the negative stimuli?

    It sounds like some of you make your kids sit stock still with hands on lap for the whole service to their own fear without being allowed to color, etc. If done wrong, this could certainly make the kids hate going to church.

    How do we not drive our kids away from worship?
  27. LadyFlynt

    LadyFlynt Puritan Board Doctor

    Trevor, "it sounds like" is the presumption. I was not permitted to colour, play, eat, or sit with older couples like the other little girls. I still loved church. Yes, my children are expected to sit with their hands in their laps. They are expected to sit in front of their schoolwork throughout the week as well. They are expected to sit, pay attention, and participate in family worship. They will be expected to sit and listen at certain times throughout life. My baby is expected to make babbling sounds right now...or nap. My 3yr old is also expected to sit. Sometimes next to me and sometimes on my lap. She pays very good attention for a 3yr old. Occassionally she looks around at the other children, but not in a manner distracting to others...not talking or fussing or anything. She does occassionally play with my hands, my ring, my fingers (opening and closing a normal three year old). She however, is sitting still and has not been given special items that she will later think is her due to distract her in service.

    I will state, that there are some children that are so antsy, that they might NEED the distraction of a pictorial bible story book or other such. Usually this is short term till they outgrow a certain stage. The church can bear with these parents...the child is a child and will behave so until it clicks in what proper behaviour is. Therefore grace is given. Every child is different and some take longer to learn than others. But this doesn't mean we give up and outsource the responsibility to others.
  28. jaybird0827

    jaybird0827 PuritanBoard Honor Roll

    Woo-hoooo! Yes! Our children are capable of much more and better than most of us give them credit for. Throw out the psychologists' counsel already.
  29. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    Thanks all for the practical answers and taking the time. I will confess sins of the heart. At restaurants, I will do my best not to sit next to a "quiver full, family integrated worship" family. :lol: I like my steak in peace in quiet.

    (Please take that as a joke and not a slam...woke up snarky this morning)
  30. tdowns

    tdowns Puritan Board Junior

    lol Chris

    Chris, that is pretty funny, and also relevant. I have four kids. And due to finances rarely go out to eat as a family, but if we do, it's a family friendly restaurant. But it def. bothers me when on the rare occasion, my wife and I go to some nice restaurant, and someone has their disruptive children there...if you're going to include them, control them.

    I've seen this occasionally in church...if the child is a disruption, they need to leave the service in my opinion. (I'm not talking minor, all little ones will do some fidgeting. But I've seen kids getting up, walking around. And seemingly, the parents feel it's their right to stay in the church, movie, restaurant, etc...the whole time.)

    You make a good point, that many, "Kids have a right to be here." people, whether it's church or restaurants, don't have their kids under control...It really bugs me when parents let their kids walk around, disrupt, and make others uncomfortable because of their right to have their kids with them. Not that any here do that, sounds like all here have controlled kids. But it's worth a thought, that not all parents who take their kids everywhere have trained their children up properly.

    In our culture where anything goes with kids and few are well trained, kids can def. be disruptive.

    I'm a teacher, and more and more I'm bothered by the lack of discipline modern kids are exhibiting, and it's all due to the psycho-babble, never say no these people (hopefully) enter into Integrated Family Worship settings, the leadership should have a plan to deal with it.

    I could see having a short summary of the Church expectations of proper behavior of children in worship, so the new family understands, and feels comfortable, if their child is being disruptive, to get up and go to a separate cry-room.

    Our church has the sermon broadcast in the cry-room.
    :blah: :sing:
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