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Children in Worship FAQs

Why are children encouraged to attend worship?
As a community, we have entered the baptismal covenant of each child, and have promised to support them in their lives of faith. We are called to develop relationships with them, value their gifts, include them in the community, teach them our stories and practices, and help them experience God’s love for them through Christ. All of these things happen in the context of worship, which is the most foundational practice in the Christian life. As we pass on our tradition to future generations, children must be active participants. To quote Melanie C. Gordon, a children’s ministry director with the United Methodist Church:   

​"What’s been found over time is that when children who are separated out of the worshipping community get to an age to decide for themselves if they want to be a part of worship, they will likely not be a part of worship because it hasn’t been a part of their life. We know enough about brain development of a young child to know they need opportunities to be a part of something, so they see it as an important part of who they are" (1). 

We also understand that children and parents have various life circumstances that can limit them from attending worship as a family. We seek to provide options, including the Pray Ground and the Nursery, to help meet the needs of families on a given day.


What about older (preschool and elementary) children?
Preschool and elementary kids are encouraged to attend the worship service. Children are also encouraged to serve in worship, learn the pattern of the service, and help younger children around them or be in the Pray Ground space (with the parent’s permission!). During the 2021-2022 year, we are offering an 25 minute in-service Children's Chapel experience every other Sunday. To learn more about this visit our Children's Ministry page. 

How will parents worship if they’re watching their children?
In our recent survey, many expressed concern that its difficult for families with young children to attend worship. They may feel pressured to keep their children quiet and well-behaved, a task which brings embarrassment and distracts parents from their own worship. The Pray Ground is but one resource to help these parents and children; the nursery is also available depending on the needs of families. However, it is up to each of us to “extend God’s grace” and offer hospitality to families with young children. It is ultimately up to the congregation to create a culture of welcome instead of conformity.

Here are a few ways to support parents and children during worship:​​​​
Greet and learn the names of children sitting near you in worship. Get to know them and let them know that they are important to this community.​ Offer to read or color with a child, especially if you see that another child in the family is fussy or upset. Ask if the parent(s) would appreciate help.  Help preschool and elementary kids to participate in the service, by inviting them to serve alongside you (as greeters, ushers), pointing out where we are in the service, etc.  Recognize that certain conditions or disabilities don’t present physically, and some children (and adults) may act in ways that seem strange or upsetting, but are normal for their situation. Celebrate that children are present and worshipping God! ​​​

​There will be a learning curve in this process, and it may take time for us to figure out how to best serve parents and children in our midst. However, it will be worth it in the long run!

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact the Children's and Youth Ministry team at cyf@glencary.org.


(1) (Crystal Caviness,”Praygrounds encourage little children to come,” Interpreter Magazine, http://www.interpretermagazine.org/topics/praygrounds-encourage-little-children-to-come (accessed July 7, 2017). 

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