It is ten minutes into the church service. The worship leader or pastor says: “During the next song the children will leave us and go to their children’s programme.” As the music starts all the children stand up and walk out of the church service to do their own thing.
What is wrong with this picture?
Every Sunday morning we are teaching children that it is okay to walk out of the church service to do their own thing. Just think about it! Every time they are in church we physically make them walk away from us. What lesson are we teaching them subconsciously by doing this?
It is a sad fact that one day when they are twelve, fifteen, eighteen or maybe twenty years of age some of our children will walk away from church to do their own thing and never come back.
Could there be a correlation between us making them walk out of the church service week in week out and them then leaving us for good? We don’t know. There has probably never been any serious research done about this. But can we take the chance?
What steps can we take to start breaking this pattern?
Maybe we can make a small start by trying to do a ‘Let’s turn things around’ service a few times a year. The idea is that the timing of these services will be a surprise. Nobody knows when they are going to happen. Those not organising it will only know when, ten minutes into the service, the worship leader or pastor will say with a smile on his face: “Today is a ‘Let’s turn things around’ service! Today all the children will stay in the service and the adults will spread out over the rest of the church to do their own thing.”
The children wave to the parents who get up and walk out of the service. They go to the rooms normally used for children’s work where they have a small group programme with coffee, Bible study and some creative teaching methods. The children who stayed in their seats have a fun children’s programme just for them.
This is not only a fun thing to do. It also breaks the subconscious pattern that says: “The adults in the church are more important than our children.”
Sure, some adults will complain. Maybe even write a letter or threaten to go to another church. But if you explain why you do this and teach the importance of cherishing our children there is a big chance, you’ll not only get away with it, but they will maybe even thank you for it!