Should Parents Have to Help in Children’s Worship?

My church expects parents to help in children’s worship once a month. Is that necessary?

There are a variety of reasons why churches might ask parents to help in children’s worship periodically. The children’s worship curriculum suggests that a leader and a greeter be present, each with a different role in the worship center. Finding these volunteers can be a problem and, if there are no extra volunteers, the church might have to ask parents. Also, many churches have church or child safety policies that require two adults to be in rooms with children. While this might seem overly strict, we gain protection for our children and our volunteers by following it.

There is more to it than this, though. There are also faith-nurturing benefits for the children. An extra person in a children’s worship room can be very helpful in making the room more worshipful. A good greeter can pay special attention to children who need assistance in settling down, focus the children on what the leader is saying, and help the children to use their time wisely. Adding a second adult in the room gives children more adults with whom they can begin to form relationships in the church. Forming intergenerational relationships is seen as one of the key supports for children and teens in churches. Having more adults in church who know our children is a win for everyone.

Beyond that, most people who lead children’s worship say that even though they miss being in congregational worship, they feel they really have worshiped with the children. Listening to or telling the stories, even if we know them well, and hearing the children’s comments and questions can bring fresh insights to Scripture. These experiences can enhance worship for adults because we begin to see and hear things we might otherwise miss.

When we’re with the children, we do indeed get the opportunity to experience worship. It just looks different.

About the Author

Laura Keeley is a regional catalyzer for Faith Formation Ministries and director of children’s ministries at 14th Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. Robert J. Keeley is a professor of education at Calvin College and director of distance education at Calvin Seminary.

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