A Message to Families Regarding Children in Worship
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them;
for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’”
~ Matthew 19:14
First, please relax and enjoy your time with us in worship. We know that children tend to wiggle and make a bit of noise, so please don’t feel embarrassed by it. They are children, and they are welcome here.
To make it a bit easier on your family, please dare to sit toward the front where your children can easily take in what’s going on, note the colors, see the musicians, look at the candles, watch the worship leaders, and embrace the action and the mystery of worship. What Jesus does here promises to engage them. There are doors near the front of the sanctuary, as well as in the back, in case you need to slip out for a time.
As we go through the worship service, quietly explain to your children what is happening, encouraging them to join in with the rest of the congregation. Be sure to sing and say and pray your parts too. Your children learn by following your lead. It sometimes helps young children if someone moves their finger along the lines of the prayer or hymn to help them keep their place.
We know that a worship service can be a long time for a child to sit and pay attention, so we do have children’s activity bags on a rack near the entrance to the sanctuary. They include books, activity pages, blank paper and crayons which your children might enjoy. You can also encourage your children to bring a favorite book or quiet activity from home. Don’t be surprised if your children draw pictures illustrating something in the service or to give as a gift to one of their church friends. Even while they are coloring, they are paying more attention than you realize!
If you and your child must leave the sanctuary for any reason, please hurry back. Like Jesus, we want your children to worship with us. We do have a nursery downstairs with a paid staff person who will be glad to welcome your children for all or part of the service. We also have a Fellowship Hall behind the sanctuary where you and your child can sit, color or draw, or move around while still listening to what’s happening in the sanctuary.
If you need a little help, just ask. There are lots of folks here who will lend you a hand. We sometimes like to say, “We speak grandparent here.” Most of us are parents and grandparents, and we would love to make your family a part of our church family.
Please know that while you are caring for your children, the rest of us will be rejoicing in their presence.
We know that your children are a gift to the Church, so we will do our best to welcome, smile, encourage, help, and bless you all. Welcome to First United Methodist Church of Stillwater.