Why My Kids Sit Through Church

(a very low quality picture a certain someone snapped from stage. )

I often get asked about why my kids are in “big” church with me. Over the last five years, I’ve really had to think through what my philosophy is as far as this subject goes. We have a phenomenal children’s program at church, so if I was going to bring my kids into service with me and have them miss the kids program, I didn’t want to make the decision lightly.

So I mentally made a list.

My list went something like this:


  • I might not focus as much in church if my children were with me
  • The kids would be bored, and I don’t want them to associate church with being bored
  • I want to sit with Brent which means I have to sit on the front row.  Having three small children on the front row can be VERY intimating.  I mean who knows what Bob might ask one of them during his sermons!


  • They would see Brent leading the congregation in worship and worshiping himself.  While they get to see him worship at home, I wanted them to see it in an environment full of Brent’s peers.  A valuable visual picture for them as they grow up.
  • They would see me worship which would allow them to truly know that I believe what I teach them every morning. Seeing me express my beliefs in as many environments outside of the home as possible is very important to me.
  • They would see other adults sing, praise, confess, pray, and listen to the Word of God.  Again, a valuable visual picture for them as they grow up and begin their own faith journey.
  • There is nothing more powerful than worshiping as a family.
  • We have two services which allows my children to come with me one service and still participate in our incredible children’s ministry during the second service.  Win, Win.

As you can see, my pros outweighed my cons.

So I sat this morning in church with my heart overflowing as I watched my two year old raise his hands as he sung because people around him raised their hands, my 4 year old danced and sang as loud as she could, and all three kids stretched out their arms to pray over those leaving for Vietnam this week simply because they saw others doing it.

Do they understand what they are doing? Probably not.  Do they listen and understand the sermon.  Usually no.  But is the beginning of their faith journey being formed in the midst of authentic worship?  Absolutely.

Is this the only way to raise children? Those of you with children should know by now there are no hard and fast rules; only do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. But if you think you want to take your kids into service but are nervous , I urge you to go for it.  Practice at home (we have family worship and each kid uses a pillow as their chair, and they can’t get off of it). Go over your expectations.  EXPECT them to obey.  And then praise them for how well they did.  Kids can do more than we give them credit for.

And when you have those weeks where everyone wakes up cranky, no one is pleasant, and quite a few of the children need naps, put them in their class in the children’s ministry.  My kids average about twice a month in service with me =)  No use setting yourself up for failure!

Will you have weeks where they all need to go potty in the middle of the service.  Yes.  Will you have weeks where you are going crazy with the amount of questions whispered in your ear? Yes.  Will all of that mean nothing to you as you watch your kids interact in worship with those around them? Absolutely.

Making the decision to train my children to sit through church with Brent and I has been one of the best decisions we’ve made as a family.

What do you do?




2 Responses to “Why My Kids Sit Through Church”

  1. Betty Alford June 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Hi Kari,

    Your blog blessed me in several ways, one, I love seeing children in “big church” especially during praise and worship. Several Sunday’s I’ve noticed at least one of your children “worshiping” in their own unique way.
    But yesterday, Ray said to me, (look at Brent’s little boy, he is really into this praise and worship”).
    It was a beautiful blessing for each of us. SO… please continue to bring them in to bless and be blessed.

    Betty Alford

    • kari June 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      Thank you Betty. They always remind me of the joy that is had in worship. I do love having them in there as well. Thank you for your encouragement!

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