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KIDS IN WORSHIP

 
 

When the Church gathers for worship, we believe families should be together as much as possible, except for when they shouldn’t (perhaps because the subject is too mature). Our aim is to see children (just like adults) formed as disciples, based on theology and practices we feel facilitate lifelong trust in Jesus. Our Kids’ Discipleship Team has taken great care to facilitate that vision. In some ways, they’re shifting our expectations about what it should be like when the church gathers. We’re persuaded children are not a distraction, even when they’re being distracting. Instead, we believe kids (just like adults!) learn best how to follow Jesus by watching how their parents and community worship, and then trying it themselves. We call this an integrated approach to children’s ministry. See below for more info on the ‘why’ of how we do Kids’ Discipleship.

IN PRACTICE:

SCHOOL-AGED KIDS (5+) All school-aged kids are encouraged to remain with parents for the duration of our service, unless instructed otherwise by parents. If it’s helpful, we have paper and pencil crayons available for these kids so they can keep track of difficult words, or draw the cool things they imagine during the sermon.

PRESCHOOL KIDS (0-5): We offer KidSpace: a Bible lesson and multi-sensory activities suited to this unique phase in a child’s development. Our teachers are screened and trained in order to provide a safe and Christ-centred setting for kids to learn in. Shortly before the sermon (during the “passing of the peace”) these kids will be dismissed and you’ll see our KidSpace leaders at the front of the room. They’ll escort kids safely to KidSpace and back up again following the sermon and rejoin parents in time to participate in Communion.

BABIES and TODDLERS: Parents whose littlest ones need a brief change of scenery are welcome to make use of the play mat and toys located on the floor toward the back of the sanctuary. Quiet, play in this space is welcome, under parental supervision.

KIDS IN COMMUNION: We recognize there are various views on whether it’s okay for kids to participate in Communion. For several reasons, kids are welcome to participate in Communion, with parents’ permission. First, this is the family meal of all God’s family, which includes kids because of their parents’ faith (1 Cor. 7:14). Second, we believe the main responsibility to disciple children resides in parents (Eph. 6:1, Col.3:20) so the decision is theirs. Third, we note that when the first Disciples treated kids as an indignity to Jesus, He rebuked those Disciples, saying: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Mk. 10:14). Finally, while it’s clearly possible for Communion to be abused (1 Cor. 11:27); it doesn’t hold that that necessarily happens when children are included. Instead, we see Paul identifying selfish motives (i.e., greed, disregard for others) as disqualifying some (1 Cor. 11:22). The test is in one’s choice to recognizing Jesus (1 Cor. 11:29) - in remembering Him (Lk. 22:19) and in proclaiming Him (1Cor. 11:26). We believe kids are capable of this.
Might some kids participate who shouldn’t? Yes. Do some adults also participate who shouldn’t? Yes! Will we know for sure who those people are? No!
We aim to celebrate the Table with due reverence; we also don’t want to be found saying “no” to anyone to whom the Lord has said “yes”. So we don’t have a rule here. We’ll create space for everyone to do a heart-check (1 Cor. 11:28) before Communion, and allow kids’ participation to be at the discretion of their parents who know them best.

FINAL THOUGHT FOR PARENTS:

Whatever age your kids are, your family worship time will be enhanced to the degree that you’ve prepared your children for what to expect, and, for what’s expected of them. We don’t wish to make life difficult for you: if you can’t imagine how this would work for your family, please talk to us and we’ll figure out how to best support you. If you have children with special needs and require assistance, please let us know that too. In all of this, we want kids to come away with the sense that even though the worship of Jesus isn’t about them, it can be so much better with them involved than without them.

For more information about our approach to kids’ discipleship, please read our Starting Points document. It expresses our values and hopes regarding children’s discipleship, as well as the responsibilities of kids, parents, and the entire church. Read it here.

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