I know this is a hot topic. There are valid reasons for leaving children in the "main" worship service and for providing a worship service just for kids.
Personally, I believe children need their own worship service. Here are 5 reasons why...
Kids can experience age-appropriate worship. Music is a preference not a doctrine. Some people have a preference for hymns. Others like modern worship. Kids love songs that have motions and movement. Songs that were written with them in mind.
When I am at a church that leaves children in the worship service, I always notice during worship that the kids are normally just standing there and not singing. The words are either two hard for them or too slow.
Children can comprehend and apply the teaching to their life. I believe how we teach children should be based on their age level. Preschoolers need preschool age teaching. Elementary kids need elementary age teaching. Pre-teens need pre-teen lessons. We don't put children in college classrooms for a reason. They are not ready for that yet. I believe the same can be said for teaching children the Word of God.
When we place children in their own worship service, rather than the teaching flying over their head, it can be comprehended and find root in their heart.
Children can move and wiggle. Kids are wired to move. With very short attention spans, they need the opportunity to move and wiggle. And no, climbing around in the adult pews (or under the pews) doesn't count.
Today's kids have extremely short attention spans. It is sad to see kids being forced to sit still and be quiet when God wired them to move it, move it, move it.
Children can build relationships with caring leaders. Yes, parents are the key influencers in a child's life. But children also need caring leaders that can reinforce what their parents are teaching them. Looking back on my two son's spiritual journeys, I can see how God orchestrated this. He brought some great leaders who invested in them and made a huge impact in their life.
When kids are not part of a worship service or small group for kids, they miss this key connection that needs to be made.
Children can grow up with memories of church being a fun place to be. I've had lots of people tell me, "I'm not going to church because I was made to go as a child." Newsflash. You don't have to make kids go where they want to be. They were made to go to church because it was boring and irrelevant to their life.
On the flip side - I've never heard someone say, "I'm not going to Disney World because my parents made me go as a child." They kept coming back because it was fun and they were creating great memories with family and friends.
Each church must decide if they will have kids in their adult service or not. I would encourage you to weigh the positives and negatives of both ministry models and decide what is going to work best for the children and families in your church.
You can get more about this hot topic at this other post that I wrote a few years ago.
Your turn. Do you have children in the adult service or in their own worship experience? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.