Sep 23, 2013

Should Crying Babies and Restless Preschoolers Be in Adult Worship?

Should crying babies and restless preschoolers be in adult worship?  Yes or no?

I have experienced both extremes.

I was once in a service where babies and preschoolers were allowed free reign.  They roamed the aisles throughout worship.

In fact, at one comical point there was a lady singing a "special" on stage.  Her preschooler started running back and forth on stage in front of her.  Right in the middle of her song, she reached over, grabbed him up, and kept singing.  She finished out the song while holding her squirming son in her arms.

Other extreme.  I have visited churches that didn't allow any children in the adult service and it was strictly enforced.  Ushers would stop parents at the door who tried to bring their children into the service.

So what's the best policy for a church to take regarding this?  That's something each church must decide for itself.

Here's our guideline and the thought process behind it.

We encourage families to place their child in our children's worship environments.  We believe children grow in their faith best when they participate in age-appropriate, engaging worship.

This is not to devalue family worship, but we weighed the two and came to this conclusion.  If you want to dive deeper into this, go to this post.

We don't dictate to families that they can't bring their child into the adult service.  We do let families who are entering the adult service with their child know that we have age-appropriate worship available.

If a child becomes disruptive in the adult service, our ushers kindly and discreetly ask the parents to take the child to our parent room where they can watch the service.  The parent room has a tv with a live feed from the service and toys for their child.

We have found this brings a good balance to help families with young children.

What are your thoughts?

What guidelines does your church follow?

What philosophy drives your guidelines?