9 Replies to “Should children be allowed to run around in church?”

  1. Having visited your church it was very interesting to read the nuances behind what is seen there! It’s something I’ve thought about a lot with F, who during our 6 years attending church has grown from rampaging toddler to play-in-the-pew, busy-with-hands 8 year old (but will still indulge in a rampage now and then!). Our church has always provided ‘busy bags’ which I think was part of causing him to spend more time in the pew. Our children’s worker once commented on the rampaging by reflecting that ‘we all worship in different ways’, which I thought was lovely! She also felt as you do that a certain level of stillness is necessary to take part in the communal worship authentically, and among other things she then set up a toy area at the front amongst the rampagers to support them to settle down.
    I think another way some children might miss out on the communal worship is the opposite extreme – due to being transfixed by toys! I feel that your emphasis on modelling an authentic style of worship as parents is super helpful here. We might even feel youthful again as we join in kids’ action songs and get stuck into family prayer activities involving play doh, regardless of whether our kids are interested or not!
    Interestingly, I was once talking to our Production Manager about the Projection rota and she observed that Projection is just a ‘very different way of worshipping’ (you’re sitting down at a computer in a corner of the building, for the uninitiated!) I’ve since been reflecting that Projection could be ideal for the toy-transfixed personalities in our midst when they grow into teens, or at least old enough to know how to use the equipment! (Probably not far off at 8!!)

  2. When my daughter, now 41, was a toddler we had the problem, in a church not then used to children, that since father was the vicar and mum the organist, little Jo would sometimes escape mum’s clutches (playing with 2 feet and one hand, with toddler under the other arm) and wander off, either to the altar, ‘daddy, daddy’ or, a favourite activity, up into the pulpit, which she couldb’t see over, and bang the little door open and shut. However, this all helped to loosen up the congregation, and soon one of the few younger women got pregnant, and so we were off! So not a new problem

  3. Hi. We have some lively children in our church and we try to engage the under 4’s by providing them with a worship bag. It contains an activity for
    each part of the service and a make and take activity for during the sermon The idea is that the parent/ carer guides the child through the service helping them access each part, giving them opportunity to encounter Jesus in their own way and context. Most often though the children just dig in as they are excited to get their bag. The Oder children go out to their own activities after the fist half of worship.

    1. I’m so glad Danielle! Thanks for taking the time to comment. For future reference, my website is now lucyrycroft.com – do come across and hang out with us there! xx

  4. Have you never heard of Junior Church where children can learn on their own level? Children running loose in a church service keeps adults from being able to concentrate on the message & is disrespectful to the pastor. Kids love Jr. Church!

    1. Yes, we have children’s groups in our church too, and I agree, children love them! But don’t you think there are dangers in always separating kids from adults, when we are supposed to be one church family together? I think there are times when it’s helpful to learn at an age-appropriate level, and times when it’s good to learn to ‘bear with one another’ as we worship God together in a big, messy, joyful way.

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