Every now and then, in the kidmin community, I hear people talking about ways to keep kids quiet during church; techniques and tips for getting kids to sit still and stay distracted so they don't talk or fidget or giggle.... One website suggests parents bring "busy bags" for kids to use during church, another suggests parents practicing "quiet times" at home with kids. Another website suggests that candy canes were originally invented to keep kids quiet during church services, and tells parents to bring items for their kids to eat or play with, so they don't talk.
While I believe there is a time and place for kids to listen and be reverent, I don't believe church should be a place where kids are mostly quiet. I think when kids are at church, they should be shouting praises, laughing and giggling, asking questions, engaging in discussions, praying, singing, and having fun.
God is not boring. When we expect kids to sit quiet and still, the message they get is that God isn't relevant and engaging, but rather boring and distant. God is SO much more! Kids need to know a God who is fun and exciting. They need to know that living in relationship with Him is an adventure- an abundant life!
The Bible says there is a time to be quiet and a time to speak. It's important for leaders to help kids know and understand the time and place for being quiet and reverent before God, and have boundaries and structures in place to help kids learn at their best. It is just as important to model for kids the excitement of knowing God, and help them know that God IS relevant, fun, and exciting!
Luke 19:40 tells about people shouting praises to Jesus as He rode past them on a donkey, and the Pharisees told the people to quiet down! Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, telling them "If these people don't cry out, the rocks will cry out in their place!" I have a feeling Jesus wants to say the same thing to some people in church who expect kids to sit quietly for an hour or more. He wants to hear little voices singing praises and reading Scriptures and asking questions.
Some Christians may spend their lives sitting around by themselves, praying and reading the Bible silently, enjoying their "quiet time" (a phrase the Bible doesn't use, by the way). But I want to live with purpose; my life with Christ is anything but boring! Life with Christ is an adventure! I want kids to learn about God through discussions and object lessons, games and songs, science experiments, skits, puppets, and so much more. I want them to leave church energized and excited to know Christ more, worship Him with passion, and live with an extravagant faith! Doesn't that sound so much better than trying to keep kids quiet and still at church?
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Children are a Gift
kidmin leader, mother, and servant of the Lord.
These are the views of Lynne Howard, and are not necessarily the views and opinions of David C Cook or any church.