I’ve been having fun around home working on de-piling the past week or so. It isn’t as though there were huge piles of stuff all over the house. Just little ones here and there, in this drawer and that, on this desk and that desk, in the basement, etc. Over the past several months I’ve had people give me sheet music, books, magazines, and other misc. stuff and I kept setting it aside until I had the energy to think about it. I think my January organizational burst didn’t kick in until February. My guess is I was too sleep-deprived in January, but now that I’ve been getting a bit more sleep and I’m less mentally foggy, I can actually get some of this stuff done. I can’t begin to tell you how gratifying it is to feel like I am finally getting on top of my life around here.
Speaking of sleeping… David and I have also been sleeping in more the past couple of weeks. Caroline has been sleeping from at least 11:00 p.m. to 4/5 a.m. which is an improvement. Some mornings we’ve fed her, put her back to bed, and we all haven’t gotten up until 7 or 8 which is really late for us. But we need more sleep. So more sleep = less blogging time.
I don’t think I’m going to write any more positive stories about what Caroline is doing now because every time I do, she stops doing it. She rolled over once and has since shown little real inclination to do it again. She such a content baby she’s happy to just lay on the floor, babbling and grabbing her feet. She won’t even go out of her way to go after a favorite toy that is within reach with a little effort. She’d rather just suck on her fingers. I’m glad she’s so content, but I think it also makes her a little unmotivated. Oh well. She’ll get it eventually. She slept eight hours through the night once and never since. She ate cereal well two days, I blogged about it, and now we’ve been back to wearing cereal instead of eating it. So no more blogging about this stuff! (I’m joking.)
Lindsey had an interesting discussion that’s related to my question of the week. She blogged about a book entitled Family Integrated Worship. Since I cannot figure out how to link to her post (?), here is the comment that especially jumped out at me.
When I was growing up, the church we attended was family integrated. It was the Catholic church. When I became an adult and confessed Christ as my Savior, I began to read the bible and attend a Protestant church. I was 18. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this church was family integrated just like the Catholic church I grew up in. That was back in 1982. The pastor and his wife talked about the value of children being with their parents during Sunday worship. It made sense to me. After I married, we continued that practice until the present with our children. The two churches we attended for the longest were both family integrated.
Why do I enjoy it, because we are making attending church a family tradition. Not an individual event. I don’t mind attending a church that has the programs as long as they don’t mind us not participating in them. But it is nice when there is agreement in this area.
We had one church worker once ask my husband, “When are you going to let us have your children.” His reply, “I’m not spending the first 18 years of my children’s lives keeping them out of the sanctuary and praying for the next 18 that they come back in.” We’re building a habit of hearing God’s word as a family and talking about the things we hear throughout the week. I’m not about to make a doctrine out of this, but it has worked for the last 18 years and we’re not about to change a good thing now.
David and I have read a lot about FIW over the past few years. We are pretty convinced that we want Caroline to worship with us in the sanctuary and not put her in the nursery or little people’s church. (I don’t know if I can use the word “convicted” yet, but we’re close.) I haven’t looked around too carefully at church, but I know that if anyone else is doing this, there aren’t many. I don’t want to be a “problem” in our church, but we also want to do what we are convinced is best for Caroline and our family. We’ve already had a few comments about when will we be putting her in the nursery with her friends so I know that we’ll have to make a decision and stick with it soon.
So if you are in a non-family integrated church and you keep your baby with you (Caroline is 20 weeks old today), how do you “make it work?” I’m especially concerned about her being a distraction to those around us. We’re willing to make the sacrifice of our own ability to focus on worship, but I also want to be sensitive to those around us.
I like what Spunky said about it being a family habit. Caroline is just getting to the point where she will sit in my lap and attend to a book when I read it to her. (Oh, how I’ve longed for this day! I can hardly wait to share my love of reading with her!) So we feel that she’s getting to the point where we can start some family worship with her. David can read a short Bible passage and we can sing a few hymns. I think doing this daily at home will in a small way help prepare her for learning how to sit in church. (Or am I totally naive?)
Well, I’ll just throw this out there and the discussion can meander as the comments merit it. I’d also be interested in hearing if people started out keeping their baby with them in the service and gave up. Why did you give up? Do you regret giving up? Would you do something different if you could do it over again?
We have always had our children with us at church. Sometimes if they are too antsey, I’ll take them into the foyer. Have I missed some sermons? Yes. Was I serving God through the circumstances He gave me, instead of passing the buck to the nursery? Yes.
My biggest piece of advice is, do not give her food to keep her quiet. Babies DO need to eat, but it should be because she is hungry, not to ‘shut her up’. This lays a very bad foundation for later, when you hit the pew and the kids associate that with snack time!
Just bring quiet activities for her and realize that “perfectly quiet and still” does not equal “good” for a baby. God made babies the way they are. Be patient about possibly needing to leave the sanctuary temporarily while she is this small. Stick to your guns though! I would often leave with a fussy baby, walk with her, and return later with a sleeping baby.
I have some experience in this. The best book I’ve read on it is Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman. Excellent, excellent book on not just teaching our children to sit still and be quiet, but teaching them to worship.
When we moved to a different town and were visiting churches, our kids were 1, 3, 5 and 6. We didn’t like the idea of dumping them in a different nursery every week while we visited different churches so we visited for worship only and brought them with us. The church where we ended up is not FI as a whole, but the people and the leaders were open to it–meaning they didn’t give me dirty looks or make comments, etc but as far as I know we are the only couple who does this (we sit in front because my hubby’s on the short side, so I don’t see what everyone else is doing :-))The first time we visited the pastor pointed out the nursery and I asked, “Is it okay if we bring them in with us?” and he said, “Absolutely!” It helps a lot that the atmosphere is like that.
When we joined, they had child care through the first grade. We attended church as a family but the kids went to SS with their age group. At some point they got comfortable and wanted to go to their class during worship…Scott wanted to give them a choice and the K-1st grade was EXCELLENT so they did that for a while; also the youngest of our four got distracting and Scott wanted to send him to the nursery so we did for a while (I would have preferred to keep him with us and train him more, but I deferred to Scott’s wishes on this); always they could come in with us if they wanted to–as the youngest got older he could come in with the understanding that if he was noisy he would have to go back to his class. He usually wanted to be with us, so he would comply.
Now the church has classes in both hours for up through 6th grade, but all 4 of our kids (5, 7, 9 and 10) come in with us. When the church extended the age we just never started it–my youngest is in Kindergarten now, and I can’t really remember when we started not giving them an option–at least a year or so ago. As the years went by we just grew more convinced that it was a benefit for them to come in with us. And it is! Even at their young ages, they catch things here and there–way more than you think they do. Katie decided on her own a few weeks ago to read through the Bible in a year, based on something the pastor said.
Practically speaking, there are several things we have done; having home worship or even reading at books at home helps the kids to learn to sit quietly (basically doing something where they are required to sit still, usually in my lap, and be quiet.) When they were little if they got noisy I would put a finger on their lips and remind them “Ssh! No talking while Daddy’s reading.” If they threw a fit I could deal with it at home without disturbing other people, and as they got used to it at home they got better in church.
We bring chewing gum and sometimes pipe cleaners to twist and play with, and we let them doodle. (I think it’s sometimes helpful to have an outlet for the wiggles. Kinesthetic learners especially can focus better if they’re moving a little.)We do not let them read other books. Scott has often drawn a little chart and written 3 words at the top for them to listen for in the sermon, usually based on the topic printed in the bulletin, and the kids would keep a strike count of each time they heard that word.
Parenting in the Pew also has some excellent suggestions–one of my favorites is whispering the words of the worship songs to the kids, right before they’re sung, and explaining quietly what the words mean so they kids understand the meaning behind what we’re doing.
Another of my super-long comments! Hope this helps.
We quit keeping our son in church with us for one main reason. Hubby and I are both involved in the music portion of the service (he’s the music leader and I’m the pianist) and there was nobody to hold our son for us until we were seated for the sermon. The only people we trusted to keep him for us either sat on the far end of the sanctuary (thus making it a disruption when we were seated and when I got up to play invitation) or sang in the choir and couldn’t keep him. If it hadn’t been for that we probably would have tried to keep him in service.
Now we’re on the other end of that. Our son is about to turn 3 and we want him in the service with us. Unfortunately, because he’s been used to being in the nursery, he doesn’t sit well for the entire length of the service yet. We’re working on it, but he’s not quite there yet. Once in a while…..
Lindsey @ enjoythejourney
Sallie here is the link to my post/discussion:
I blog too much and the posts archive quickly. I need to get some of those permalink thingies on my old archived posts! 🙂
I’ll be reading this thread with interest because I’m like you…thinking about doing more FIW but in a church where it isn’t the norm.
We keep our five children with us in a non FI church. Their ages are 9,7,5,3, and 13 months. We started when our now 3 year old was 18 months old. Im going through my first season of having a “baby” in church and it is so hard! We would not have it any other way though. Our church is very supportive. Back in October of last year we left our church and began meeting in a home with other families from the church. They have a rotating schedule in which one adult takes all the kids baby through teen up to another room during our service. We did that one Sunday and decided that we would continue on with worshipping as a family. Not that anything bad happened, we just missed having the family together.
The main problem I have right now is my 13 month old likes to talk and squeal. He has also just started throwing temper tantrums. If he becomes fussy I wait a minute to see if he will quiet down, if not I just go into another room. We do practice sitting quietly and listening at home with all of our children. We have a family reading time and a family Bible time so the kids are used to it.
We have had people comment on how mean we are, that our children should learn on their level. We take comfort in the verse that says God’s Word will not return void. My baby is wiggling right now on my lap so I cant look up the verse Im sorry. 🙂 We get lots of compliments on how well our children sit, especially on days when I think that they had to have distracted the whole church. LOL
We let the younger children move around some, but the older children have to sit and pay attention. We have great discussions afterwards.
My one piece of advice is if you have to walk baby out of the service hold her in your lap. Dont let her run around and play. This only encourages bad behavior if they think they will get to go have fun.
We also have Parenting in The Pew though I have not had a chance to read it yet. Im looking forward to it.
Im done now. Sorry this was so long!
Our church is not FI, but the pastors are now trying to encourage more and more families to bring their children to the main worship service with them. However, we’ve been bringing our kids with us since before it was cool. 🙂
Does your church have a Cry Room attached to the sanctuary somewhere? Ours does, and this helps because there is a place with a rocking chair where I can rock a baby (actually, I was rocking a toddler and a baby this past week!) and still see and hear the pastor.
One thing I have learned is that we parents are usually more sensitive about our children being a distraction than the people around us are. I have felt like every little whisper and fidget were so loud, and yet the people around us would later compliment us on how well behaved our children were. So I would say that don’t feel like you have to take your baby out the second she makes a peep. Screaming is one thing. An occasional gurgle is another.
I would also say that you should be prepared for some parishoners to be rude to you. This has happened to us. Even though the pastors and eleders think it is great, a couple other people have been less than supportive. You will have to let this roll off your back.
Also, be prepared for some really good times with your daughter…and some really bad ones! Some days I leave church feeling like a failure, and others I am so grateful for such a beautiful time as a family.
Lastly, I really regret pacifying my second child with toys. Giving her something to play with worked wonders when she was nine months, but at the age of one, it was a crutch that we ended up having to deal with. I think it would have been easier to try figure it out without the toys (kind of like what was said above about snacks).
A great little article I read that started us out is here. We also asked families we saw worshipping together how they trained their children. The answer was always: practice practice practice.
If you train your baby now, I think it will be well worth it. Our oldest is not quite five, and already we can talk a bit about the sermon instead of nagging him to sit still and be quiet. It is hard for the first couple years, but I still think it pays off in the long term. I see a couple families in our church trying this rather late, and they are fighting to keep 8-year-olds in their seats! On a bad day, I remember that at 8 we will be learning together instead of having a battle, and it will be well worth it.
We have been thinking about this as well, for our own little one, and feel like we would rather keep her with us than put her in the nursery. She does well for the singing part of worship, but after that she’s usually hungry or restless. Depending on which it is, either I take her to the nursery’s infant room to nurse (and miss the sermon) or my husband takes her out into the foyer to walk her around.
As for me, I accepted Christ after an altar call in an adults’ service, when I was about 7. (My grandma says that I “got saved” in this way several times over, but I only remember one. 🙂 ) I went to Sunday school and children’s church too, but somehow the pastor’s exhortation to accept Jesus made more of an impression on me.
My former congregation was not FI. I did sometimes use the nursery, but if my blessing was in there, I was in there with her. I have a friend who felt the same way, so we stuck together about keeping our blessings in service with us. We were going to buck the trend, even when they get old enough for SS.
In my new place, the children leave only for the sermon-they are in service the rest of the time. Once they reach 13 there is no class for them-they are expected to sit in service for the sermon with the adults.
I will not be sending her off during the sermons-she can learn to sit during them. I also don’t want to do that because there are 2 girls a year ahead of her that bully her (they are 4!). I know that teachers can’t always catch it, and I don’t want my blessing to learn that that is the way to treat others, or that she is suppossed to be treated that way. In fact, a couple of weeks ago when I took my blessing in to the nursery for a change, the worker asked if she was staying. I said no. She said they’d love to have her-I’m sure she would. It’s not a reflection on the workers, but I want my blessing to sit through the sermon and I don’t want her bullied. I’m sorry if that hurts them, but my blessing is my daughter, not theirs.
I also have some things that are only used for service. She has a pink blanket that is used only for services. She likes to cuddle with a blanket. She also has a lap dry erase board that is used only for service. Saving them for that occasion ensures she is not bored with them. The dry erase board opens up so I can store the markers and a coloring book, some paper and a few other crayons inside.
I read that very same post from Spunky’s archives, and it resonated so strongly that my husband and I decided to take our boys out of youth church and put them in the sanctuary with us.
My only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.
We recently moved to a new state and went to a new church last week. I didn’t worry to much about what anyone would think, having gone through six toddlers, I’ve been around the ‘disapproval block’ and now I’m mostly oblivious to it. We had all seven children in the service, including the baby for the first time.
The little boys still loll a bit, but they stay quiet. I distracted the baby when she got bored, by putting some coins in my eyeglass case and letting her take them out/put them in. I didn’t think about a playing habit, but I didn’t want to take her downstairs unless I had to. I don’t mind missing sermons…I’ve done that before, and I would rather be the one to miss a sermon than have my children miss anymore.
The world does its best to separate families, and while I know that churches are only trying to accomodate their congregations, they are now dealing with teenagers who have given up the sanctuary after years of being ‘accomodated’.
I imagine that if pastors were faced with family-infused congregations, they would be more diligent about preaching the beautiful, convicting meat of the Gospel–which knows no age group.
I don’t recall Jesus segregating families when he preached. I’m encouraged from this post, that one day soon, pastors will see this need arise within their congregations and address it.
Thank you, Sallie 🙂
Our three children have all started out in the nursery but then joined us in church when they were about 1 1/2. We kept them with us in church when they were small and easier to keep quiet, then when they were several months old and they got to the happy squealing and babbling stage we started putting them in the nursery. Someone around 1 or 1 1/2 we started keeping them with us for the church service until the sermon, and then putting them in the nursery for the sermon. When they got used to that then we started keeping them with us for the entire service (average age of about 1 1/2, probably a little earlier with each child as we became more convicted of having them worship with us!). However, once we decided what we were going to do we stuck with it – we didn’t want them to think that if they started acting badly then they would be rewarded by being allowed to go play in the nursery!
We have chosen to have only a couple of books/activities in church, and these are reserved for only church (which makes them more special). When they were really young we brought a couple of little Bible story board books (not other books because I’m always annoyed if I see an elementary or junior high age child reading novels or playing electronic games during the church service!). As they got older they were given their own Bibles that they can bring if they choose. We also have a little Noah’s ark finger puppet set for little ones. The younger ones are allowed to color on a little Magna Doodle coloring board (with an attached pen, great idea so they aren’t dropping it!) during the sermon. We use an idea with the older ones (age 6 and 4) that was mentioned in the comments above already. We write a few selected words on a piece of paper (such as Jesus, water, vine, or whatever the sermon is about!) and have them make a mark beside that word every time they hear it in the sermon. They are very excited about it and it keeps them much more focused on the sermon!
We have allowed Cheerios and water for them when they are young (especially when it was close to their normal time to eat!), and so far have had no problems with the older ones continuing to request snacks (probably because Cheerios and water aren’t very exciting except to a little one!). We have not allowed other snacks because we don’t want them to think of church as snack time.
We’ve found it to be helpful to practice some of the frequently used songs and prayers with our children so that when we sing them in church they will recognize them and be excited to participate! This is the easiest to do around Christmas and Easter because the hymns and songs are more predictable! They also enjoy saying the Lord’s prayer with us (which our church does in unison sometimes). They are always excited to participate when they recognize the song or prayer!
We have them stand when we stand, sit when we sit, and generally participate in as much of the service as possible.
Our experience has been that most people at our church (while they put their own children in the nursery!) are happy and pleased to see our children participating with us. We (as the parents) are often more aware of the noise our children are making than those around us are! We choose to sit closer to the middle of the sanctuary (rather than at the back) because it feels like we’re more part of what is going on and it is easier for the children to see how the adults around them are acting. But we do not hesitate to take them out with us for a few minutes if someone starts to cause a disturbance.
Anyway, that’s been our experience so far!
My first child, Katherine, is 4 month old, and I’ve never put her in the nursery during the service or Sunday school. This means I haven’t sat through a whole sermon since she was born! : ) Last Sunday, rather than doing the in-and-out thing, I sat in the foyer for the sermon – the sound is piped into the foyer. It was nice – I was able to hear most of the sermon while not worrying when Katherine got a little fussy. I wish our church had a nursing moms’ room connected to the sanctuary. The room for nursing moms is in the back of the nursery, and it’s always COLD in there! I like churches that have one-way glass and the sound piped in to a room for moms of littles.
In spite of peer pressure to use the nursery, I want to keep Katherine with us in church. My parents did with me and my brothers and it was very beneficial for us.
We have twin almost 2 year olds that have never gone to the nursery during worship. We have not been a part of a FI church however and have had comments made by some that were not encouraging and been encouraged by others. The main thing to realize is that you are doing something that glorifies God and to stick to your beliefs. You probably will upset a few people but in the end your child’s salvation is what is really being discussed and that is worth upseting a few status quo folks. Our girls have gotten great a sitting through worship they have had moments of being taken out for discipline and then brought back in butthey have sat through without problems now for at least 5 months. So just make it until she is 15 to 16 months and she will have it. It is well worth the sermons you will miss to have when your child says Amen at the end of a prayer with everyone in church and tries to sing with the hymns! Jesus said let the little children come to me that is all we are trying to do!
Something else to keep in mind –
My last church had wired the sound so there was a speaker in the hallway and nursing area for moms or people who weren’t in the sanctuary. If you came late, you heard the services as soon as you hit the door! It was not set at a *high* volume – enough that moms could hear it, low enough that babies could fall asleep.
Most churches today are “wired” – the preacher has a microphone and perhaps if you speak to the sound director or pastor they could arrange to have a speaker in a nursing mom’s area.
My children are adults now, but we were the parents who ‘ran’ the children’s program.
My kids happiest memories are of worshiping with their grandparents.
How I wish now that it had been us.
We are in a non-FI church but keep our children with us (10, 8, 7, 5, and 1).
The idea of a church that is fully family integrated is very appealing, but we feel a definite call to worship at the church we currently attend. When we removed our in the pew on those Sundays. It is such a blessing to watch this interaction.
I would also second the Parenting in the Pew book. I think it should be mandatory reading for every person, let alone parents. It focuses on teaching our children about worship, not about keeping them busy while we worship.
Well here’s what we do when in the US:
We have our babies with us up to about 6-8 months… then they get too loud and I like to hear the sermon, be fed, etc… so to the nursery they go- for the sermon time (only 35-45 minutes, usually). They’re usually with us for worship time, which is great.
At about 3-4 years old, when they can sit still and I am confident in their ability to not bother others (being up and down, talking, etc.), then they come to church and listen, and their only option is coloring. I also have a water for them, but limit that as we don’t want to have to make a potty trip, if possible.
When we’re in China, we have house church and so the kids are in with us all the time.
we live in a rural area and when i had my first baby our church did not have a nursery worker or any thing except for sunday school for children. if our children became too loud i took them out to the nursery and cared for them myself.
after my third baby was born things changed. our church installed nursery workers every week and children’s church. i still did not want to drop off my baby in the nursery so i kept him in church with me.
i was torn about children’s church. since our church voted for it, i felt i should support it by doing my turn. i did that for a while and then as my older daughter, who was out in church with my husband, began asking questions about salvation, i realized my place was with them on the pew so i stopped helping and kept all my kids together in church.
now i’m expecting my fourth and i will do the same thing. i feel that teaching them to sit quietly and listen is valuable. also, if kids are constantly entertained and fed at church, when they are too old to participate in the youth activities, they may no longer want to attend a “boring” church service.
Oh my! So many good, helpful comments! I’ve used all my available brain cells to answer emails this evening so I’ll have to comment in the morning when I’m fresh! 🙂
We didn’t have nursery at our last church. Since she was newborn we have been taking her to the service with us. She has learned to sit and now she is 2.5 and is quiet and doesn’t need much. Every now and then a book. All summer while home we generally kept her in church with us.
Now our church is small with just a few families. The nice thing is we are one of two families with their young children in the service.
I gave up. I am the only one with small children in our church. I have a two yr old and one who is 11 mos. My toddler is very loud. Even his whispers are loud. I usually would end up taking him from the bathroom for discipline and back to the sanctuary. It was horrible. I know he is a distraction to the congregation. My 11 mos old is VERY loud and likes to yell or squeal when he is on my lap. I have tried books, snacks, quiet toys and both boys still make noise. Now,I take them into the nursery before the congregational prayer. If there isn’t a worker, I sit with them myself and listen to the sermon on the speaker. This is much more peaceful for everyone involved. I am actual able to worship the Lord. Before I was stressed and absolutely HATED going to church. I was so irritated by the time the service was over. I felt like a failure and didn’t want to fellowship with people afterwards. I just wanted to fly out of church because I was so exhausted from trying to keep the kids quiet. I know that some Christians will try to give me advice on keeping the kids in the service, but I know my kids. They are big strong hyper boys. 1 1/2 hours is TOO long for them to sit quiet. If there were more kids in my church and they practiced family integrated worship, my situation might be different. The closest church that practices this is an hour away and I am not driving that far. I believe that it is important to belong to a local church and that Sunday is a day of rest. My husband drives 1 hour every day to work.
Didn’t mean to write a book here. Ooops.
I love the idea of families worshipping together, but my husband and I are members of an enormous church (attendance each weekend is 6,000+) and we’ve often found that if we don’t arrive VERY EARLY, we don’t get a seat and must stand along the back walls with many other people. This presents a real problem when you’ve got three little ones with you, so we have chosen to have them worship with their age groups the majority of the time, yet bring them in with us when circumstances permit. They have been with us often enough that all three (ages 7, 5 and 3) are able to sit quietly without disturbing others around us.
We feel that they are getting the best of both worlds. Our children’s leadership team is PASSIONATE about not just being a baby-sitting services while the grown-ups worship but about teaching even very young children to be spiritual leaders in their homes, schools and communities and training them to share God’s message of hope effectively with their peers. The ministry they receive in children’s worship is a wonderful complement to what we are teaching them at home, and my husband and I both feel that they would be missing out on some wonderful training by not being with their age group.
Like many other issues Christian families face, I think the decision whether to keep your children with you in church or not is a very personal one. What works for one season in your life (or even what works for another family) may not always be right for all time. We must seek the Lord’s guidance at all times in all things and be willing to adjust our thinking on such matters if He so leads.
I’ve really appreciated reading these comments. I am expecting my first child (from China!!!) next Sunday and we have decided to keep her in church with me (Mr. U is the pastor so she can see Daddy up front). Thank you all for sharing and I know with time and patience, our new little one will be learning and worshipping right alongside us!
Well, I am a mom in the minority here. I have a 15 month old and one due in August. Since I am on the sound tech team at church, I cannot keep my child with me during the service. Since my husband usually serves in some capacity as well the nursery is the best solution for our family. We also have a cry room with full sound and we also have the sound piped into the narthex/foyer for folks outside the sanctuary. Since our church is mainly older people the issue of sound is paramount. With lots of little figety and talkative kiddos, the service is sometimes disrupted for others. Not very often, but it is a concern for some folks. We also have a contemporary service that encourages full families to attend and worship together. So I suppose we have the best of both worlds. I think church is for all the members of the family, so at this stage it is critical for mom and dad to be fed by the sermon without our high energy toddler. Since we also incorporate prayer and praise at home, I have no fear that my toddler is missing out on preaching or skill building. For everything there is a season…
I love your blog, and ready it very regularly. I believe that each family has to do what is best for them. However, I disagree a little with the family integrated worship. Our church right now has the children in the santuary for the singing and “worshipping” part of the service, and then they are dismissed for children’s church during the sermon. I think this is great as they are involved in biblical learning that is on their level in the children’s church. I have seen to many little ones doodling and coloring during the service.
Again, I know that each family has to do what is best for them, and I hope that you and David are able to make a decision you are comfortable with.
Thank you for the effort and time you put into your blog, I know how difficult it is when you have a little one.
We kept both our children with us for the first 3 – 6 months until they became a distraction. We’ve discussed the issue and prayed about it, and have attended a family integrated church (the one we attended had an optional nursery for children under 2) and others with more children’s programs, although all the churches we attended had some families who worshiped together.
We’ve talked to enough people that were forced to go to church as children and be quiet and have a negative opinion about that, that we have decided we don’t want to make church someplace our children don’t enjoy going. I was not raised in a Christian home, so I have no negative feelings about going to church that some of my friends who were raised in churches with no children’s programs have from time to time. We’re not sure when the correct age to transition them into adult church is, we’re still praying about it. We were in one church (we’re military, so most of these different churches were forced by moves) where we really liked the setup for children–the kids went to the first 20 – 25 minutes of church where there was music, a short sermon, and any baptisms that occured. Then, they were dismissed for Children’s Church.