Toddlers during preaching

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Amazing Grace

Puritan Board Junior
Again, worship is not what we get out of it. It is given to God, and we benefit from it only as a peripheral issue -- yes, we benefit from it (at least some of us) but that is beside the point. The pastor I would think often does not learn anything new in hearing his sermon preached (he hopefully knows what he is going to say and so much more before he speaks that when he preaches, it will add little to nothing), yet he is worshipping in the service as much as anyone else.
Brian, I hope you do not mind, but I am going to start another thread on this issue and hope many can hammer it out together. "Is teaching involved in the worship service"


Puritan Board Graduate
Hey sola, don't feel bad, we had four sons. The second one got 20 times more spankings than all the rest and was still the ringleader for mischief. Drove us wild sometimes. Age 25 now and turned out fine. He got hired several years ago at a huge summer camp with a hundred school teachers doing specialties (his was archery), and the camp director said he had only hired 3 non school teachers and my son was the youngest of all, but he thought he could handle it. He did great, especially with the goof offs and the troublemakers. He's a natural with kids. Good leadership giftings, he has been a natural leader all his life in most situations.

One time in church when he was about two almost three maybe, he got up, ripped down his pants and announced that he had to pee and waddled down the aisle. The whole church dissolved laughing. I was mortified. My other three were so compliant and mellow, we used to joke that we wondered if the hospital gave us the wrong kid.

I'm not into Dobson but he does talk about the pin prick test in one of his books. Prick a baby foot at one week old and there are maybe nine different reactions. The whimper, the pull the foot away, the scream, the indifference, the angry defiance, etc. At one week. Some of them are just born a certain way. The strong willed are much harder to train but the potential for influence is also greater, so it is a gift. Hang in there.


Puritan Board Freshman
One more thing that I'd like to add. If "piping the sermon" into a nursery or cry room is sufficient, then how about over the internet? I see little if any difference between having a sermon piped into a nursery and having someone stay home and listen to whomever on the internet.
I told my husband about this post this morning and said, "maybe I should just keep my fuzzy slippers on and stay here this morning..?"

Yeah, he wasn't really convinced.

I agree with Brian, and wish I could find a church where people really didn't mind a 17 month old puttering around, but I think a cry room is the next best thing.


Puritan Board Freshman
I listened to a very interesting sermon on this topic by Jeff Noblit that would be beneficial to this topic.
Sermons | Anchored In Truth Ministries "Why We Encourage Using the Nursery Until Your Children Are Able to Listen With Understanding"

I wrote this on my blog about it..

Plenty of sermons have been preached about disciplining children, and why children should sit in the worship service with their parents from birth, but below is a sermon you’ve probably never heard before. Many well meaning parents, with their hearts in the right place (myself included), have headed this advice. Some level of guilt is planted in us that leaving our children in the presence of christian fellowship while we give our attention and respect to the Word of God is somehow passing off our parental responsibilities spoken of in scripture.

But is the purpose of the preaching of God’s word being ignored, while the purpose of the training of children exalted? What do the scriptures say about conduct during the preaching of God’s word?

If you are under the impression that having a nursery is only for selfish and irresponsible parents, I encourage you to open your heart for a moment and your mind to the scriptures. Jeff Noblit, who is Paul Washer’s pastor, gives some insight to this topic in his sermon Why We Encourage Using the Nursery Until Your Children Are Able to Listen With Understanding from Nehemiah 8:1-3, 8 which can be found here.

I think above all, we need to be careful in forcing guilt and blame on other believers for silly things with no scriptural basis. I have yet to find a bible verse that condemns a parent for leaving their child in the presence of another while they attend to other tasks. I think it quite a good idea to suggest that we treat the preaching of God’s word with reverence, so that when a child enters the age of understanding the scriptures, they might be as attentive and respective of the preaching of the word as we have been. How do we allow ourselves to become so distracted during the preaching of the word, and yet expect our very young children to do exactly the opposite?


Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks Vanessa, that does look interesting. Very rarely hear anyone preaching directly about stuff like that!
I haven't been able to listen to that yet, but I'm interested in what age he says is old enough to understand the sermon.

he beholds

Puritan Board Doctor
I haven't heard the sermon yet, but I am wondering if this could be a Baptist vs. Presbyterian distinction.

I know that Baptist churches in general seem (I said seem, please don't be mad if I am way off base!) to be intentional and deliberate in their children's service idea, whereas most Presbyterian churches that I know of generally set it up so that the best place for them to be during the worship service is in worship, though of course they might take Sunday School seriously for children. The Presbyterian's approach to an alternative during the worship hour is not quite as intentional or even as "beneficial" to a child, as it is usually just nursery. In my experience, I've not been to a Presbyterian church (a legit one--not USA or anything) with Kids' church, but I have been to Baptist or Baptistic churches with Kids' church.

So if a parent was convinced that children should not be in the Service, he might fare better at a church where there is something other than nursery offered, not because nursery is bad, but because it is not a time of teaching and it's not Sunday-specific.

Also, could Covenant Theology come into play?

An aside, and I am sure that I've mentioned this specific incident before on the PB, but we once bought a book from the thrift store by Dobson on child-rearing. I read his belief that children should not be in church before a certain age (four, I believe). He said that if your church did not have a nursery, you should hire a babysitter and leave your child at home! My husband threw the book away :)

Does anyone else who advocates children in the nursery also advocate children staying home on Sunday mornings? Let's say that you did not have to hire a babysitter, but it worked out that your mom watched them for free because her service was at a different time (this way, no one is missing church or being employed on Sunday for your children). Would you see a strong reason to bring your kids with you Sunday morning, if there was no Sunday School class that they were missing.

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
An aside, and I am sure that I've mentioned this specific incident before on the PB, but we once bought a book from the thrift store by Dobson on child-rearing. I read his belief that children should not be in church before a certain age (four, I believe). He said that if your church did not have a nursery, you should hire a babysitter and leave your child at home! My husband threw the book away :)

Needless to say, Jessi, little Grace Cameron Phillips, D.V., will be not only be baptized as close to the 8th day as is feasible, but she will be sitting under the preaching of the word as early as possible.


Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Someone asked for an explicit reference that called for the bringing of children to worship. The following text calls for a gathering of the whole people together for the ministry of the Word. And a general reference to children is made, part-for-the-whole, indeed a fortiori, argument from lesser to greater (if these least-of-all, then the whole number).

It may be argued that this was a special occasion, or occasional in nature. OK, but it is a plain call for the entire people to be gathered, without exception for age. Providence and prudence are always needful considerations (blunting the absolute enforcement of any statue), but take note of this passage.

9 So Moses wrote this law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, saying: “At the end of every seven years, at the appointed time in the year of release, at the Feast of Tabernacles, 11 when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully observe all the words of this law, 13 and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land which you cross the Jordan to possess.
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