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What does the Bible say about children’s church?

children’s church

In many churches, the children’s ministry includes “children’s church,” a time of singing, hearing a Bible lesson, and participating in activities geared for children. Usually, children’s church takes place during the main church service. The children have their own room, their own curriculum, and their own teachers who know and love them.

The Bible contains no specific model for children’s church. However, the Bible is clear that everyone should be evangelized and taught the Scriptures. Sharing the gospel with children and teaching them the lessons of the Bible is surely a good thing. Some churches do this by offering a children’s church, and others opt to keep the children in the “big people” service with their parents or a responsible adult. There are arguments in favor of both models:

Holding children’s church separate from the adult service:

- Children have a chance to socialize with their own peer group.
- Children learn differently from adults. Having their own church time, with scheduled breaks and age-appropriate activities, helps them learn.
- Children are more likely to enjoy coming to church if there are activities geared just for them.
- The church should show that it values all children, including children whose parents do not attend church.

Keeping the children in “regular church” with the adults:

- Children have a chance to watch their parents engage with the church as they worship Christ.
- Children can and do learn from singing and preaching that is “over their heads.” In fact, all learning takes place when children are pushed beyond their current capabilities.
- Children need to see themselves as part of the larger church community.
- The church should not give the impression that children are an inconvenience or a distraction to worship.

Some churches operate with a hybrid model. During the Sunday morning service, children stay with their parents or a responsible adult. Then, sometime mid-week, children participate in an age-appropriate discipleship program. With the hybrid model, children are taught the Bible on a level they can understand, while their parents still have the opportunity to set the example of worship and proper behavior in the church service.

Regardless of whether a church has a children’s church, the Bible places the main responsibility for teaching and training children on the parents (see Deuteronomy 6:6–9). Parents, especially fathers, are the primary disciple-makers of their own children (see Ephesians 6:4). Any children’s ministry such as children’s church should be seen as coming alongside parents to assist in the biblical training of their young ones. Children’s church should be a supplement to, not a replacement for, parental training in the home.

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This page last updated: June 5, 2023