I anticipate posting more on this subject, but for now I am simply looking for some feedback and thoughts. The subject: children in worship. What role should children have, if any, in corporate worship of believers? Do children have a rightful place in the corporate worship gathering, or should the corporate worship gathering remain primarily for adults?

Culturally, the Western church has segregated and excluded children from the corporate worship gathering. There are many reasons for this, some which may be justified, while others remain suspect at best. For example, infants can be distracting during corporate worship, and so many churches offer a nursery. Not only are incorrigible infants potentially distracting, but all infants face the indisputable obstacle that what happens in corporate worship is unintelligible to them.

Many churches also offer kid’s church services beginning as young as three years old, with some spanning into adolescence. This is motivated primarily by secular psychological profiles and educational models which emphasize age-appropriate learning (this statement is merely meant to highlight the influence of these things. This is not necessarily meant to be an outright rejection of these things). The kid’s church phenomenon isn’t limited to just children. More and more churches are going to youth and even college services tailored for the tastes and preferences of these particular target audiences.

Let me ask this question: What have we lost when we exclude children (infants to teenagers) from worship? What have we gained, if anything?

In a conversation with a dear friend this week  she said the following: “We feel the family’s, like the individual’s, worship throughout the week culminates in the participation of corporate worship. It is the time when we as an entire family join together with other families and individuals in the community to worship as we have been doing all week in our home. We include even the youngest in our family worship and do not worry that they don’t understand or participate as much as we do, and it would seem absurd to leave them out, so why would we during corporate worship?”

I’ve got another question percolating in my mind. What harm is done to the parent/child relationship, if any, as the primary discipler in the home, when the church fails to put adults and children in position to worship together in a welcoming environment through corporate gatherings? What are we communicating to both adults and children alike with this practice?

I’m looking foward to the input. I have as many questions as I have answers. I apologize for the long hiatus. I’ve been out of town and Elijah’s been noisy at night when I’ve been around. I hope you understand.