Big Church, Little Church: Which to Choose for Kids?

Big Church, Little Church: Which to Choose for Kids?

There’s been quite a bit of bruhaha lately about whether to send your kids to children’s church or keep them with their parents in the larger congregation. As a long time children’s minister, (twenty years now) I’ve seen the “big church, little church” debate arise numerous times.  It’s healthy to talk about these things but for those of you who choose to keep your children involved children’s ministry on Sundays, you may experience some “shaming” from parents who do not. I wish it wasn’t the case but it is so often. I sincerely pray that love will abound as the church and families discuss these subjects.

Each time this “issue” rises I make the same points. Here are a few why and why nots that may help influence your decision.

Why You Should Keep Your Children in Children’s Church

  • Children enjoy and participate in age-appropriate worship.
  • Children’s ministry teaches children how the bible applies to their lives specifically.
  • Avoid creating an uncomfortable teaching experience if pastor touches on an adult topic.
  • Children’s church gives children a chance to serve God in ministry. (Volunteer helpers, service programs.)

Why You Should Not Keep Your Children in Children’s Church

  • Your child has expressed an interest in seeing what happens in the adult church.
  • Your child has some behavior problems and needs one-on-one attention.

Now let’s go beyond the whys and why nots. In my experience I see children’s church purists keeping their children in the adult service for a different reasons. They are usually one of the following:

  1. Parent had a disagreement with the children’s pastor.
  2. Parent thinks they could do a better job.
  3. Parent doesn’t think church should be fun.
  4. Parent believes that other children are bad influences.

Ultimately, where you send your kids is your decision and your responsibility. Nobody that I know, nobody that serves children would dare to suggest otherwise. However, if you’re preventing children from attending children’s church because of any of the above four reasons, please reconsider. Settle disagreements quickly (as the Bible tells us), offer to help if you want to participate. Try to think about church the way your child does. If you think another child is a bad influence you step in and be a good one.

On behalf of all children’s ministry workers, please know that we are here to help you, partner with you, assist you. Children’s ministry isn’t just for kids, it’s for families.

You can do it!

Read more from Mimi by following her blog at Tools for Kids Church.


Author: Fred Parr

Fred is a minister and officiant for local wedding companies in Arizona

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