This is from Crossbridge Community Church, Lakeway, Texas an LCMS mission: “The Kidz begin the morning in worship services with their parents so that they can enjoy the uplifting, contemporary music that begins our Sunday mornings. Pastor Peter then blesses the Kidz before dismissing them to the care of their instructor for the remainder of the service time.”
This is from Point of Grace, Pflugerville, Texas, another LCMS mission: “Children begin in the worship service with the adults, then have their own worship and learning time during the remainder of the adult worship service.” However, Point of Grace, as their name implies, is more gracious than Crossbridge because they have the caveat: “However, children are welcome to stay with parents if preferred.”
This is from an otherwise conservative LCMS church in the northeast: “Holy Trinity desires to be a family-friendly church that encourages and welcomes families with children to worship together. Sometimes, however, that’s not so easy for parents with little ones. In response to a request for help from some of our parents, beginning Sunday September , 20th, children 5 and under will be invited to go to the Pastor’s Study in the church during the sermon for a special Bible story time and a quiet activity. One of our parents will be taking turns on [a] rotating basis to lead this special time. Hopefully, this will enable the children to have a meaningful activity while mom and dad are able to focus on the Pastor’s message from the Word of God.”
This move to “children’s church” which has existed for many years among the Evangelicals and the Reformed probably started with the children’s sermon. Once you admit that the Divine Service is really beyond children, you’ve tacitly admitted that its prime function is conveying information. It’s not to convey forgiveness, life, or salvation. This is what the Reformed have always believed: faith equals cognition. Faith is strengthened by information.
Crossbridge thinks kidz (sic) need “the uplifting contemporary music;” Point of Grace thinks children need to worship and learn apart from adults. Holy Trinity thinks the best way to be family-friendly and encourage families with children to worship together is by separating them from their parents.
The only time Holy Writ says the Lord got “indignant” is when His disciples prevented little ones from being brought to Him. The Sunday Divine Service is where our Lord appears today. Matthew 21 tells us it was the chief priests and teachers of the law who became indignant [same Greek word for Jesus’ indignation in Mark 10:14] at children shouting in the temple area. In sum, Jesus is indignant when little children are prevented from coming to Him, and His enemies are indignant when the praise of children is indecorous.
What parent thinks they are teaching or helping their child, or that the child is getting all that is available in a nice meal – food, fellowship, information – by only letting them sit at the table when they reach a certain age? Didn’t you hate the concept of a “kid’s table” when the extended family got together?
The biggest tragedy to me is that Kidz Church usually has a selfish motivation. Parents cannot/willnot put up with their children during Church service and instruct their children in the Gospel, so they put the Kidz in storage and give the job to someone else. But this is not good for anyone – your knowledge of something deepens when you take up the responsibility of teaching it.
As an adult looking back on my recent childhood, there is nothing in this world anyone can buy me that would be more precious than the way my parents taught me God’s word. I pray others would also experience this blessing, and Kidz Church is not a step in the right direction.
It shouldn’t surprise me, but it always does, that one bad thing leads to another. I imagine that in experiential
worship, it’s quite difficult to sway back and forth to the
driving rhythms with one’s eyes closed and hands in
the air, if one’s gat insists on being uncooperative. Just
when you sense that you’re on the verge of a new, deeper
personal relationship with your Lord, the kid breaks the
spell by informing the sanctuary, “I gotta pee!” God’s
great plan plan for your life foiled once again by a
So I shouldn’t be surprised that the movement towards
experiential worship has lead to removing distractions
from the sanctuary.