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Should Children Attend "Big Church" With Their Parents at Christmas?

There has been much debate about whether children should attend their own worship service or stay with their parents in "big church." You can see what I am talking about in the comment section of this previous blog post. My personal opinion is that children get more out of having their own worship service on a normal weekend. Why? Here are a few reasons in a nutshell.

Children need age-appropriate worship.

Children have unique needs that can't be met in an adult worship service.

Children distract those around them. It's not fair to place kids in an adult environment and expect them to "sit still and be quiet." It allows children's memories of church to be positive.

Faith is first and foremost modeled at home.

That being said...there are a few times each year when bringing kids into the adult service produces a bigger spiritual impact than separating them. One of those times is Christmas services. This is one of the times when kids will benefit more from being with their parents. In most churches, the elements and experience they will get is more impactful than what they would get in a children's only service.

There is something special about Christmas services. Factor in the Christmas songs, a shorter sermon that tells the story of why Christ came and what Christmas is really about and lighting Christmas candles together that makes it a positive win for families.

So...here's the bottom line. I suggest having your nursery and preschool environments open, but have kindergarten through pre-teens attend the adult service with their parents for Christmas services.

And here's what I suggest to make it an experience that families never forget. Give them opportunities to make memories together before, during and after the service.

  • Serve hot chocolate and cookies. You can even set up some Christmas cookie decorating stations.

  • Have an ornament decorating station where kids and parents can make an ornament for the tree they have at home (wood ornaments work well for this).

  • And of course...inflatables...gotta' have some inflatables.

  • Have picture spots available with a Christmas background and some Christmas characters.

  • Have a snow making machine going (unless you live in Minnesota or Canada where snow is already present and the last thing you need is more snow).

  • Have a station where families can make Christmas cards for people in jail, firemen, policemen, soldiers, etc.

  • Have a group of carolers singing in the background.

These are a few of the reasons why I believe kids and parents should worship together at Christmas.

What do you do for Christmas services? Kids with parents? Kid have their own service? What do you do before and after the service to make it a great shared experience for kids and parents? Share your thoughts, insights and ideas in the comment section below.


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